""Men Kneeling to Woman in Flounced Dress" Page 299"   Lot no. 771

Add to Want List

By Jessie Willcox Smith (American- 1863-1935)

1926 (Estimated)
25.75" x 16.00", Framed 33.75" x 24.00"
Charcoal, Watercolor and Oil on Board
Signed Lower Right

Click the image above for an additional view.

Men Kneeling to woman in flounced dress. Illustration from Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott, one of the most popular books in American literature and an extremely important one in Smith's career. 

In 1868, Louisa May Alcott wrote a classic story about the lives of four sisters growing up in Concord, Massachusetts.  The story was based loosely on the life of the author, but when the book was reprinted in the 1900’s, the publisher chose Jessie Wilcox Smith as the most suitable artist to bring this story to life.

Early in her career, Smith lived and worked with Violet Oakley and Elizabeth Shippen Green, two prominent Philadelphia illustrators, who developed images of childhood and young adulthood that were enjoyed and cherished by millions.  This illustration from Little Women depicts a romantic moment in the life of one of Alcott’s sisters.

Explore related art collections: Romance / Books / 1920s / Men / Women as Subjects / Fashion / Brandywine School / $100,000 & Above / Women Artists

See all original artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith


            Jessie Wilcox Smith never married, but throughout her long career, specialized in drawing and painting mothers, babies and children. Her training was acquired at the School of Design for Women, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Thomas Eakins, and at the Drexel Institute under Howard Pyle.

            She had begun as a kindergarten teacher but turned to an art career with the stimulus and assistance of Howard Pyle. Some of her best-known illustrations were for books: Little Women, Heidi, A book of Old Stories and Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. She also painted a great many illustrations for magazines such as Collier's and McClure's, and did nearly 200 covers for Good Housekeeping. For several years, she shared house and studio with two other Pyle students, Elizabeth Shippen Green and Violet Oakley. Working in close proximity they also strongly influenced eachother's work as well as that of several other Pyle - school women. This relationship is told in The Red Rose Girls by Alice Carter. Smith painted and exhibited widely, revieving many awards, a Silver Metal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. She was also commissioned to paint many portraits of children.

            Two other biographies, Jessie Wilcox Smith by S. Michael Schnessel, and Jessie Wilcox Smith American Illustrator by Edward D. Nudelman (who also contributed A bibliography) have been published.