Thursday: Portuguese Fisher Girl

I’m kicking off the MOBA preview today with one of my favorites by Charles Hawthorne.

I might be biased, but I think it looks pretty spectacular in its new [temporary] home. This painting has long hung in a dark corner of the Morning Room; a corner so dark that I once lost an intern in it for three whole days. Also, once we hung the painting upstairs (under good light), Colin said, “I never knew there was a SHIP in the background.” What can I say? The Hermitage is full of surprises.

Charles Hawthorne
American (1872-1930)
Portuguese Fisher Girl, 1927
Oil on canvas

While Hawthorne’s contributions to the canvas were significant, many of his contemporaries would argue that his gift for teaching was his greatest achievement.  Those who were privileged to study under Hawthorne were never short on their praise of the artist’s ability to inspire, and as a result  he is often called an “artist’s artist.”  Hawthorne’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Boston MFA, the Brooklyn Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Portuguese Fisher Girl is not so much aesthetically charged as it is provocative.  The underlying theme is made aware to the viewer, but not fully conveyed.  Hawthorne plays the part of a tactician whose sole purpose is to manipulate the ability of tones and colors to depict reality, and the quiet result of his efforts is powerfully represented in the subject’s face.

Conservation Need: Examination and solvent tests, surface cleaning to remove dust and grime, re-varnish surface, corrective reframing and installation of a backing board, surface clean frame, photography and written documentation.

Conservation Cost: $1800

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3 thoughts on “Thursday: Portuguese Fisher Girl

  1. I’ve admired her for years, but did not know who painted her. I am so glad that you found her! I look forward to seeing her in the light.

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