Skip to main content

Lady in White

Thomas Wilmer Dewing, American, 1851–1938
Oil on panel
Made in
United States, North and Central America
Current Location
Not on view
20 1/8 × 15 7/8 in. (51.1 × 40.3 cm)
framed: 29 3/16 × 25 1/8 × 2 3/4 in. (74.1 × 63.8 × 7 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase and the Eliza McMillan Trust
Public Domain
Object Number
An elegant woman artfully poses in profile. Though the painting’s small size and our close view would suggest a certain intimacy, she seems quite remote and absorbed in her own thoughts. In late 19th-century America—the Gilded Age—women were understood to maintain ideals of truth and beauty. In this painting, the woman embodies a timeless, unattainable beauty. She is presented to us more as an object to be enjoyed for its refinement, like the graceful Empire chair, antique gown, and magnificent gilded frame surrounding image.
1901 - 1984
William K. Bixby (1857-1931), St. Louis, MO, acquired from the artist; Mrs. William K. Bixby (d.1951), St. Louis, MO, by inheritance; William H. Bixby (d.1967), St. Louis, MO, by inheritance; Mrs. William H. Bixby, St. Louis, MO, by inheritance [1]

1984 - 1987
Martin Kodner, St. Louis, MO, and Ira Spanierman, New York, NY, purchased from Mrs. William H. Bixby [2]

Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., New York, NY, purchased from Kodner Galleries

1987 - 1988
David Peter Bloom, New York, NY, purchased from Berry-Hill Galleries

In auction "American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture", Sotheby's Parke-Bernet, New York, lot no. 184 [3]

Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., New York, NY, purchased at auction [4]

1988 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Berry-Hill Galleries [5]

[1] William K. Bixby was one of the founders of the Saint Louis Art Museum. He acquired the painting from the artist through Newman E. Montross. After Mr. Bixby's death, the painting remained with his wife until her death, after which time it was inherited by her son William H. Bixby. The painting was offered at auction in 1957, but was not sold ["Old Masters and Nineteenth Century Paintings Belonging to the Estate of the Late Mrs. William K. Bixby". Parke-Bernet, New York, October 23, 1957, lot no. 34]. After William H. Bixby's death, the painting was inherited by his wife, where it remained until 1984.

[2] The 1988 Sotheby's sale catalogue indicates Martin Kodner, but not Ira Spanierman, as previous owner ["American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture", Sotheby's Parke-Bernet, New York, lot no. 184]. Correspondence between Susan Hobbs, who is preparing the catalogue raisonné on Dewing, and Ira Spanierman indicate that the painting was in the possession of Ira Spanierman from January 1984 until June 1987, when it was returned to Martin Kodner [letters dated April 30, 1984 and May 30, 1985, and scholar's notes, SLAM document files].

[3] David Peter Bloom was convicted of fraud, and his assets were turned over to a court-appointed receiver. This painting was repossessed and offered at auction as the property of Irving H. Picard, receiver for David Peter Bloom. Berry-Hill Galleries purchased the painting at auction [Postcard dated June 3, 1988 from Berry-Hill Galleries to Susan Hobbs, indicating that they purchased the painting at the Sotheby's sale, and it will be in their catalogue in July, SLAM document files].

[4] See note [3]. The painting is reproduced in the 1988 sale catalogue from Berry-Hill Galleries ["American Paintings V." New York: Berry Hill Galleries, 1988, p. 140-141].

[5] Per invoice dated December 5, 1988 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, December 15, 1988.
Scroll back to top