Artwork of the Week: July 28, 2019
Lee Greene Richards (1878-1950), Convalescence, 1922, oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
This weekend we celebrated the birthday of Utah artist Lee Greene Richards, born on July 27, 1878. Richards was a very well-known and highly sought-after muralist and portraitist in Utah and he painted many portraits of Utah governors and pieces for government buildings. This piece, however, shows a gentle, emotional scene set in a home.
Despite the title, this little girl appears to possess a state of overall well-being. Her bedclothes, gown, bonnet and especially her groomed ringlets suggest the thoughtful, loving attention of a parent. She is attending to her favorite toys, so perhaps the convalescence is complete. On the other hand, how would the artist depict the child if she were struggling to overcome a life-threatening illness? This painting might be intended to cheer a fading little girl, or perhaps to preserve tender, beautiful memories for her grieving parents.