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Ruth

Ruth

Artist
Thomas Eakins
Date of Work
1903
Medium
Oil
Type
Portrait

Ruth

"Ruth" by Thomas Eakins.

The White House collects portraits that show American artists at their best, whether or not the artist paints a historical figure or scene. Ruth Warner Harding did not have any connection to the White House, but Thomas Eakins's famous portrait became part of the White House collection because of its artistic quality. Eakins (1844-1916) made the oil painting in 1903. Forty years after her portrait was painted, Ruth Harding told her husband that her sad expression was that of a ten-year-old who "wanted to be playing with the kids instead of sitting for the painting." The portrait is an outstanding example of Eakins's gift for expressing the emotions of his subjects. He was not interested in painting heroes in glorious poses. He showed complicated individuals even ten-year-olds being themselves.

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