Artwork of The Week: March 22
James Taylor Harwood (1860-1940), Home Life, 1895, oil on canvas mounted on board, 22 1/2 x 29 1/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Joyce and George Hill and Curtis T. Atkisson, 2016.
Home Life is a poignant view of nineteenth-century Utah by one of Utah’s greatest artists of that period, James T. Harwood. The artist rendered this scenes of his wife, Harriet, with their son Willard in 1895 inside their home in the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City. The painting is a positive and humble view of the goodness of family life and community. Harriet sews quietly in her chair, visiting with a family friend, Martha Powell, while her young son plays on the floor. The subject is a wonderful summary of treasured values: family, relationships and work.
Painted after Harwood’s initial years of training in France, this image captures the artist’s impressive technical skill in rendering the forms and pleasant lighting of the afternoon sitting room. Harwood himself considered this piece one of his greatest and most meaningful paintings. It was recently acquired by the BYU Museum of Art with generous funds provided by Joyce and George Hill and Curtis T. Atkisson, and is on display in the current exhibition From the Vault: Highlights from the MOA Collection.