A Confident Woman

John Singer Sargent painted this double portrait of Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes an American architect and his wife Edith Minturn Phelps c. 1897.  I saw this painting in ‘real life’ and was struck by the image of Edith Phelps.  Her confident stance in front of her husband which was unheard of in those times, her choice of dress to be painted in her smart daytime clothes instead of a glamorous gown which was the norm, and her modernity – if you took away her period dress her image could easily be transposed to our time, yet her husband’s face and hair is completely dated to that era.  I bet Edith Phelps was a smart and confident woman in charge of her life – and her man.


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