“The difference between a good portrait and an excellent one lies in the artist’s ability to capture the essence of the sitter, and Lilian Hale understands this. In Sandra, the artist depicts the young sitter deep in thought; her gaze stirs feelings of curiosity within the viewer. To emphasize this psychological response, Hale leaves as many questions unanswered as possible. The piece lacks any elements which may contextualize the sitter, such as an interior background or accessories. Furthermore, the piece’s monochromatic nature erases any other potential distractions the viewer may come across in the path to uncovering Sandra’s essence.”
-Francisco (Boe) Herraiz, Gallery Intern
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Eventually Hale found her way back to her easel by the mid-1930s and resumed taking commissions for portrait work and capturing landscapes near her Dedham home, with most of these works being done in charcoal and pencil. Sandra, a sweet head and shoulders drawing of a young girl with braided hair, was likely commissioned by the family of the subject, Sandra (Merritt) McGrath. She was born in 1935, therefore the piece dates to the mid-1940s, and it was later lent by the sitter to an exhibition of Hale’s drawings held at the Boston Athenaeum in 1981.
Antiques shop, Essex, Massachusetts
To private collection, Roslindale, Massachusetts, 2017 to present
From THE BOSTON ATHENAEUM LIBRARY / 10 ½ Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. 02108, U.S.A. / Sandra Merritt McGrath / 1981
1). Exhibition of Lilian Hale’s drawings, held at the Boston Athenaeum, Boston, Massachusetts, July 13 – August 7, 1981