Ernesta (Child with Nurse)

Artist: Cecilia Beaux (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1855–1942 Gloucester, Massachusetts)

Date: 1894

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 50 1/2 x 38 1/8 in. (128.3 x 96.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1965

Accession Number: 65.49


Beaux's two-year-old niece and favorite model, Ernesta Drinker (1892–1981), clutches the hand of her nurse, Mattie, whose figure is boldly cropped. The radical composition and free brushwork suggest that Beaux had absorbed the lessons of Manet, Degas, and Velázquez. In 1896, Ernesta was among a group of six works, including Sita and Sarita (1893–94; Musée d'Orsay, Paris), that were shown at the 1896 Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.