Eustis Estate

Man Whittling

Gertrude Fiske (1879–1961)
Massachusetts or Maine, c. 1935
Oil on canvas
36 x 29 in.
Museum purchase

Portrait of Gertrude Fiske, Peter A. Juley & Son (active 1896–1975, c. 1920, © 2020 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Gertrude Fiske enrolled in the Boston Museum School in 1904, when she was twenty-five. Before long she was extolled in newspaper reviews, won medals at international expositions, and sold her work through one of the region’s most prestigious art galleries. In this painting she posed her model against a colorful geometric backdrop — a favorite quilt that she also chose when she sat for her own photograph. Depicting the model as an elderly woodworker, Fiske used a raking light to emphasize his arthritic knuckles, underscoring the character’s lifetime of working with his hands.

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