A Society Matron is a Portrait Painting by Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948)
"A Society Matron" Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948). This portrait is of a woman sitting forward with her gaze directed towards the viewer. She wears a white off-the-shoulder dress adorned with a gold brooch along the neckline. This portrait painting is oil on canvas and measures 22 inches wide by 26 inches tall and is signed in the upper right corner. Painted in the first decade of 1900. In the frame this portrait oil painting measures 28 inches wide by 32 inches tall.
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of an Anonymous Collection, Winston-Salem, North Carolina late 20th Century. The portrait was formerly thought to be Helen Wallace McEachin, who died in Greensboro, Alabama. But this was later determined to be not the case. The identity of the sitter is unknown.
The son of the artist Lemuel Maynard Wiles, Irving Ramsey Wiles became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of America's "Gilded Age". Born in Utica, New York and educated at Sedgwick Academy in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Wiles originally considered becoming a professional violinist. He studied art as a teenager with his father, and had his first exhibition at the National Academy of Design at the age of eighteen. He went on to study at the Art Students' League with William Merritt Chase and James Carroll Beckwith. He developed a friendship with Merritt Chase, who chose Wiles to complete Chase's portrait commissions left unfinished at the time of his death. Irving Wiles was widely considered to be Merritt Chase's successor. Wiles also studied in Paris with Charles Auguste Emile Durand, known as Carolus-Duran, whose dramatic influence in many of his portraits is visible. Irving Wiles also studied at the Academie Julian with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. When Irving Wiles returned to New York in 1884, he made illustrations for Century, Harper's, and Scribner's magazines. He taught at his father's Silver Lake Art School in New York and at his studio. Ramsey created many beautiful watercolors and landscape paintings, but he is known as a portrait artist. Some of Ramsey's clients were Theodore Roosevelt, Mrs. Edward Redfield, William Jennings Bryant, and actress Julia Marlowe, whose portrait was said to have caused as much of a sensation as its subject. He participated in many exhibitions, among them shows at the Paris Salons, the Society of American Artists, Brooklyn Art Association, Corcoran Gallery, Newport Art Association, Boston Art Club, the American Water Color Society, and the National Academy of Design. Irving Wiles received the Hallgarten Prize and was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design in 1897. He was also a frequent exhibitor at national expositions such as the 1893 Columbian, the St. Louis Exposition (1904), the Paris Expositions of 1889 and 1900; the Appalachian Exposition (1910); Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo (1901); and San Francisco's Pan-Pacific Exposition (1915), winning at least four gold medals, ten prizes, and awards from various venues. Today Irving Ramsey Wiles' paintings are in museum collections in Europe and throughout the U.S., including the National Portrait Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery, Metropolitan Museum, Smithsonian, the Butler Institute of American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the DeYoung Museum, West Point Military Academy, and many others.
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