handerson thayer

10

Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849–1921, United States)

Angel paintings

Thayer was an American artist and naturalist. A painter of portraits, figures, animals and landscapes, he is best known for his paintings of angels and other mystical subjects. He enjoyed a certain prominence during his lifetime, and his paintings are represented in the major American art collections. He is also known for his work in the field of protective colouration in nature, showing how patterns on animals and insects provided a camouflaging effect.

Abbott Handerson Thayer (American painter) 1849 - 1921 Landscape at Fontainebleau Forest, ca. 1876 oil on artist’s board 54.61 x 45.72 cm. (21.5 x 18 in.)

Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921)
“A Virgin” (1893)
Oil on canvas

Thayer began this group portrait of his children, Gladys, Mary, and Gerald, soon after the untimely death of their mother in 1891. He originally envisioned the central figure, Mary, as Flora, the Greek goddess of flowers, but as the work progressed he decided to make her a Greek “Victory” figure instead, with clouds billowing behind her like wings.

The model for Mary’s dramatic stance is the famous Hellenistic sculpture in the Louvre, the Nike of Samothrace, known as the Winged Victory.