Pearl of Grief

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Rembrandt Peale (American, 1778–1860)
Pearl of Grief, 1848
Oil on canvas
24 × 17 7/8 in. (60.96 × 45.4 cm)
Gift of Mr. Frederick L. Pierce M1922.3
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
Currently on View

The third child of famed eighteenth century painter Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt specialized in portraits of many of the new nation's founders. This image of a shrouded young woman, hands raised in a gesture of mourning and tears running down her cheek, is more enigmatic, and symbolic, than many of the artist's portraits. Painted at a moment when Peale was revisiting many national and patriotic themes from earlier in his career, the subject is a young woman bereaved by the 1848 Mexican American War. The painting's sense of melodrama and the associations with depictions of the Madonna also provided moral lessons to the country's young mothers.

Publication History
Archer, John. The Nature of Grief, The Evolution and Psychology of Reactions to Loss. London: Routledge, 1999, p. 41, b/w pl. 3.5.

Miller, Lillian B. The Peale Family: Creation of a Legacy 1770–1870. Abbeville Press, 1996, color illus. p. 96, pl. 58.

Miller, Lillian B. In Pursuit of Fame: Rembrandt Peale 1778-1860. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and University of Washington Press, 1996, p. 237, b/w illus., fig. 110.

Lloyd, Phoebe. A Death in the Family. Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, Spring 1982, p. 11, illlus. p. 9.

Milwaukee Art Institute Bulletin, no. 21 (July 1922): p. 11.
Exhibition History
The Peale Family: Creation of a Legacy, 1770-1870, org. by The Trust of Museum Exhibitions, Washington DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art October 26, 1996–January 5, 1997; The M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco January 25–April 6, 1997; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. April 25–July 6, 1997.

Villa Terrace, loan term-loam beginning September 13, 1967, ending date unknown.

1st Annual Art Exhibition, Wisconsin State Fair, West Allis, Wisconsin, 1928.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.