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The Visitor

Wagenhals, Katherine H. (American, 1883-1966)


Indiana

Katherine H. Wagenhals

The Visitor, 1916

oil on canvas

26 x 20 inches

John Herron Fund

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A Pennsylvania native, Katherine Wagenhals studied at Smith College and at the Art Students League in New York and at the Académie Moderne in Paris before making her way to Fort Wayne, Indiana. There she may have taught t the Fort Wayne School of Art with her talented relatives the printmakers Jessie and Norah Hamilton. 

This prim lady in a blue suit and rather assertive bonnet won Wagenhals the Art Association of Indianapolis Purchase Prize in 1916. Although the genteel setting falls within the tradition of interiors painted by the Boston School artists, the thick, simple strokes used to suggest the visitor’s hands show Wagenhals’ familiarity with bolder painting styles.  The tidy background of straight lines and 90 degree angles reinforces the impression of propriety.  If not for the sitter’s intelligent expression and alert bearing, the door in the background might be interpreted as a symbol of a highly desired departure rather than a welcome arrival.

Reference

Mary Q. Burnet.  Art and Artists of Indiana, New York: The Century Company, 1921. Reprinted by Unigraphic, Inc., 1981.  ASIN: B002J7QO2K

Object Information

artist
Wagenhals, Katherine H. (American, 1883-1966)
creation date
1916
materials
oil on canvas
dimensions
26-1/8 x 20-1/8 in. (canvas)
31-7/8 x 25-7/8 x 2-5/8 in. (framed)
accession number
16.424
credit line
John Herron Fund
copyright
Public Domain
collection
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945
colors