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Picturing a World

The Shrine of Shakespeare

Jeanette carries her unfinished copy of Gifford’s Shrine of Shakespeare from Vassar to New York City. After she, her mother, and Cousin Effie visit the Tenth Street Studio Building, she brings it out to show the family—thereby provoking the quarrel that sends her to Paris. At Vassar’s Frances Lehmann Loeb Art Center, I was able to view works from the college’s earliest collection, the Magoon Collection. It helped me think my way into Jeanette’s situation to look at works she might actually see. The catalogue of an earlier exhibition devoted to the Magoon Collection also provided much information on how 19th C artists worked and how the faculty presented works of art to students.
Gifford’s woman in a red shawl is mentioned in the first chapter of Where the Light Falls, after which a touch of red as a focal color comes up several other times in the novel. If anybody else notices a significant pattern, feel free to point it out!
NB: The version of the painting shown here is in a private collection. A small image of the version at Vassar can be seen on-line if the frustrating Loeb Art Center Collection Database cooperates.
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