Little Girl is a study for an oil portrait of Mary Franklin Bush, painted in 1927 and which is now in the collection of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. As with much of her charcoal work, Hale made clever use of positive and negative space, outlining the contours of the figure with delicate touches of her stick while relying on the underlying white reserve to denote form and volume.
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Naturally, her principle focus is on the face, carefully modeled so as to capture the child’s high forehead, deep-set eyes and rosebud lips. She simplified her composition by blocking in the background with a piece of soft charcoal, thereby allowing the image of the child to stand out. This technique holds up in the final oil version, in which Mary is the primary focus amidst a darkened setting.
To the artist’s estate, 1963-1969
To Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1969
To private collection, 1976 to present
Two Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, labels, with description of the drawing
Listed in Erica Eve Hirshler, “Lilian Westcott Hale: (1880-1963): A Woman Painter of the Boston School,” Ph.D. dissertation, Boston University, 1992, page 280