Textual description of firstImageUrl

Thomas Waterman Wood | Threading a Needle, 1870

Thomas Waterman Wood (1823-1903) was an American painter born in Montpelier, Vermont.

In Threading a Needle, an elderly lady sits with a pair of socks on her lap; large holes and frayed ends indicate that they badly need mending.
Probably compensating for an unsteady hand, she furrows her brow and bites her lip in concentration as she peers through her eyeglasses to thread a needle.
A pair of scissors and a ball of thread hang from her waist by a ribbon.

In 1891, Wood exhibited at the Academy a picture entitled A Cogitation, for which one of his Montpelier friends, Mr. George Ripley, posed.
The composition is extremely simple, a farmer in his barn, leaning upon his pitchfork, his countenance thoughtful.

This picture was bought by Mr. Harper and published as a full-page engraving in Harper's Weekly during the Greeley campaign over the title "Is Greeley a Fool or a Knave?".

The subjects of his works, his selection of characters, his yearly pilgrimage to Vermont, all demonstrate his filial loyalty and he gave to this sentiment of his heart its final expression in the establishment, as a gift to Montpelier, of its Gallery of Art.
But, apart from this, the homes, offices and institutions of Montpelier and without are filled with the affectionate and great evidences of his work.

The Vermont Historical Society possesses several excellent examples of his portraiture, all of great historic value and preserved in the Cedar Creek Reception Room at the Vermont State House: Samuel Prentiss (1881), United States Senator; Mrs. Samuel Prentiss (1895) and Dr. Edward Lamb (1895), gifts to the Society by the family of Mr. Prentiss.

In 1896, the Society unveiled a life-size portrait of the distinguished publicist, the Hon. E. P. Walton, the gift of his wife and sister.
Wood's personal donations include portraits of the Rev. William A. Lord, D.D. (1874), minister of Bethany Congregational Church of this city, Daniel Pierce Thompson (1880), novelist and author of "The Green Mountain Boys", and Justin S. Morrill, United States Senator, father of tariff legislation, promoter of agricultural colleges and chief up builder of the Library of Congress.


When fortune permitted, Wood went to Boston and studied for a short time in the studio of Chester Harding, a portrait painter.
In 1850 he married Miss Minerva Robinson, then living in Waterbury, Vermont, and in the same year he built a summer home in the Carpenter Gothic style on the west side of the mountain gorge through which the road leads up to Northfield.

He named this home after his wife, making use of the Latin synonym, Athenwood.
During the 1850s, he found means of visiting galleries in London, Paris, Rome and Florence, having previously painted portraits in Canada, Washington and Baltimore.
His first European visit, in 1858, was shared with Mrs. Wood. Upon their return he painted portraits in Nashville and Louisville, beginning at the former place The Fiddler, which was completed years afterwards and finally included in the Thomas W. Wood Collection in the Montpelier gallery

At the age of 43, the artist permanently settled himself in New York City, opening a studio as a figure painter. This was in 1866, eight years after the exhibition of his first work in the National Academy of Design, The Baltimore Newsvendor (1858).
This painting was sold by mistake to two persons, Mr. J. C. Brune of Baltimore and Mr. Robert L. Stuart of New York, resulting in a long, expensive lawsuit, terminated in favor of Mr. Brune.
During his residence in Louisville, Wood painted The Contraband, Recruit and Veteran, suggested by the sight of a black man in light brown jeans, who had but one leg and was hobbling along on home-made crutches.

This celebrated work commemorates the transition of the African American from slavery to freedom and is now the property of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1869, Wood was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design and, in 1871, an Academician.
He became President of the American Water Color Society in 1878 and served in that office until 1887.

He acted as Vice-President of the National Academy of Design for a period of twelve years beginning in 1879.
In 1891 he became the President of the Academy.
He died in New York City and was buried at Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier. | Source: © Wikipedia

Thomas Waterman Wood | A Bit of History: The Contraband; The Recruit; The Veteran, 1865-66 | Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wood è cresciuto nella nuova città di Montpelier, nel Vermont.
Da giovane ha lavorato nell'ebanisteria del padre.
La sua educazione artistica è stata in gran parte autoacquisita: all'inizio dipinse insegne, realizzò disegni di brevetti per inventori e tentò alcuni ritratti.
Potrebbe anche aver studiato con Chester Harding nel 1846 e nel 1847, e successivamente ha lavorato a Düsseldorf.

Thomas Waterman Wood | A Bit of History: The Contraband | Metropolitan Museum of Art

Nel 1852 aveva aperto uno studio a New York, continuando la sua pratica di ritrattista, e aveva costruito una residenza estiva con vista su Montpelier.
Dopo un anno in Europa nel 1857, si trasferì nel sud ed iniziò a fare i pezzi di genere per i quali è meglio conosciuto: concezioni popolari dell'America democratica, lodando modi rurali senza pretese.

Ha continuato a dipingere questi soggetti dopo essere tornato a New York nel 1866.
Wood è stato eletto alla National Academy of Design nel 1871 e ne è stato presidente per otto anni.
Ha continuato a trascorrere le estati a Montpelier e in tarda età ha fondato e donato la sua collezione alla Wood Art Gallery della città. | Fonte: © Smithsonian American Art Museum

Thomas Waterman Wood | A Bit of History: The Recruit | Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thomas Waterman Wood | A Bit of History: The Veteran | Metropolitan Museum of Art

In "Threading a Needle", una signora anziana siede con un paio di calzini in grembo; i grandi buchi e le estremità sfilacciate indicano che hanno un disperato bisogno di rammendi.
Probabilmente per compensare una mano malferma, aggrotta la fronte e si morde il labbro per la concentrazione mentre scruta attraverso gli occhiali per infilare un ago.
Un paio di forbici e un gomitolo di filo pendono dalla sua vita con un nastro.