Azalea (Portrait of Helen Abbe Howson)

John White Alexander (American, 1856–1915)
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions18 1/4 × 43 1/2 inches
CreditGift of Mrs. Gertrude Farnham Howson, 1974
Accession Number74.19.6

The title Azalea may refer to the flowers Helen Howson contemplates, or to her own delicate beauty or character. John White Alexander painted many moody, ethereal works such as this featuring women who look away from the viewer. Contemporary scholars have pointed out that the subject of a passive, withdrawn woman may signify a reaction against the growing activism of women in their battle for suffrage and other forms of equality.


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