The Nymph of Hymen
Rosina Emmet Sherwood American
Not on view
Rosina Emmet Sherwood—the elder of the two famed Emmet sisters, talented students of William Merritt Chase—was among the leading woman artists of her time. Beginning her professional career in the field of decorative arts, Sherwood came to be better known for her commissioned oil-on-canvas portraits, which she painted from the 1890s through the 1930s. This 1888 pastel represents her transitional phase, moving from decorative media to other so-called “minor arts”—such as watercolor and pastel—an important step toward her portraiture work.
The Nymph of Hymen, a Greek costume piece, reveals the period’s interest in neoclassical subjects (expressions often associated with the so-called American Renaissance) as well as reflecting, in its formal precision, Sherwood’s training in Paris at the Academie Julian. The work dates from the time when her former teacher and ongoing mentor, Chase, was establishing the Painters in Pastel artists’ organization, devoted to the elevation of pastel drawing. The rich textures and vibrancy of Sherwood’s pastel affirm her talents in the art form.