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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Mme. H and Her Children

Photo: Paul Macapia

Mme. H and Her Children


This fashionable family group is incomplete—contemporary viewers would have known from the profile portrait on the column that the father is away at war. This was a reference to a famous story, told by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder, of a woman who traced the shadow of her lover’s profile to keep his memory alive when he went off to do battle. The anecdote also asserts the importance of drawing as the primary artistic tool during the neoclassical period.

The painting is unique in this gallery in placing the woman outdoors, rather than within the traditional domestic interior. Perhaps this is because the husband’s absence compels the mother to assume the protective male role, suggested by her sheltering gestures.
Oil on canvas
65 1/8 x 48 1/4 in. (165.4 x 122.6 cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Provenance: Max R. Schweitzer, New York, until 1962; purchased by Seattle Art Museum, February 26, 1962
Photo: Paul Macapia
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryBellevue, Washington, Bellevue Art Museum, "17th, 18th, 19th Century Western Art", October 30, 1975 - November 24, 1975 (10/30/1975 - 11/24/1975)
Published References____. "Accessions of American and Canadian Museums: April - June 1962." Art
Quarterly XXV, no. 3 (Autumn 1962): 263, 270

American Association of Museums. "Seattle Art Museum." Museum News 41, no.
8 (April, 1963): 31

Bellevue Art Museum. 17th, 18th, 19th Century Western Art. Exhibition catalogue,
Bellevue Art Museum. Bellevue, Washington, 1975

Kodansha. Weekly World Travel, No. 94, 2000, p. 16

Seattle Art Museum. Annual Report of the Seattle Art Museum, 1962, reproduced p. 40, fig. 28.

Seattle Art Museum. Engagement Book. (June, 1965): 13-19

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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