To Form a More Perfect Union: Violet Oakley’s Murals in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber

At breakfast tables on Sunday morning, December 3, 1911, readers of The New York Times were confronted with a surprising headline running across the magazine section: “A WOMAN CHOSEN TO COMPLETE THE ABBEY PAINTINGS.” Four months earlier, the news that the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) had passed away in London raised speculation about who would receive the remainder of his...
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Violet Oakley, Lady Mural Painter

When Violet Oak­ley accepted the commission – and challenge – of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to decorate the State Capitol then under con­struction in Harrisburg, she announced that the subject of her mural series would be “The Romance of the Found­ing of the State.” In 1902, the ardent lady mural painter, then twenty-eight years old and the only one of her kind,...
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Bookshelf

The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love By Alice A. Carter Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000 (216 pages, cloth, $39.95) Highly successful and immensely unconventional Philadelphia artists Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935), Eliza­beth Shippen Green (1871-1954), and Violet Oakley (1874-1961) captivated early twentieth-century society with their brilliant careers and uncommon lifestyle. At a...
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