Girl with Lute

Artist: Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938)
Historical period(s)
Oil on wood panel
H x W: 60.8 x 45 cm (23 15/16 x 17 11/16 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

child, lute, United States

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Thomas Wilmer Dewing on January 18, 1905 [1]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [2]


[1] Object file.

[2] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Thomas Wilmer Dewing (C.L. Freer source) 1851-1938
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Girl with Lute is a typical work from the late period of Dewing's career, when he often depicted a single figure seated in an interior and playing a musical instrument.  Such compositions perpetuate the long established association of art and music.

The model is distant from the viewer, pinned into a precise composition of receding diagonal lines established by the rich carpet and the exotic instrument. Dewing is indebted to the French 18th century painter Jean-Antoine Watteau, whose women often hold musical instruments similar to the one seen here. Dewing softens the dynamism of these lines with suffused light and a neutral background, bathing his subject in an evocative glow.

Published References
  • Susan Hobbs. Thomas Wilmer Dewing: Beauty into Art: A Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven, CT, November 13, 2018. pg 422, pl 211.
  • Royal Cortissoz. An American Artist Canonized in the Freer Gallery. vol. LXXIV, November 1923. frontispiece.
  • Susan Hobbs. The Art of Thomas Wilmer Dewing: Beauty Reconfigured. Exh. cat. Washington, 1996. p. 34, fig. 25.
  • Ulrich W. Hiesinger. Impressionism in America: The Ten American Painters. Munich and New York, 1991. p. 162.
  • David Park Curry. Charles Lang Freer and American Art. vol. 118, no. 258, special issue., August 1983. pp. 168-79, fig. 2.
  • Charles Henry Caffin. The Art of Thomas W. Dewing. vol. 116, no. 695, April 1908. p. 719.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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