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Taggart, Lucy M. Eleanor, 1921


Lucy Taggart was born in Indianapolis. She was the daughter of Thomas L. Taggart, a prominent politician. She was a pupil of William Forsyth, William Merritt Chase, and Charles W. Hawthorne at the Art Students League in New York. She studied at May Wright Sewall’s private school in Indianapolis and at Smith College in Massachusetts. According to her obituary in the Indianapolis Times, she favored life in Gloucester, Massachusetts, but returned to Indianapolis to teach at the Herron Art Institute.

According to Forsyth, Taggart had been abroad and exhibited frequently in the East and West. Writing in 1916, Forsyth said that “she has spent most of her time in the east of late years, in New York and on the Massachusetts coast, but also has a studio in Indianapolis.” He indicated that Taggart was “best known for her figure pieces, but she also paints landscape.”

  • Eleanor, 1921
  • 40″ x 36″
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Keywords: paintings, portraits, oil on canvas
  • Subjects: indoors, women, fans, hands, mirrors, chairs

This lady is a graceful figure seated in front of, and reflected in, a gold-framed mirror. The mirror serves as a frame and almost gives the viewer the illusion of a painting within a painting. The front reflection, showing both the front and back of the sitter, adds a third dimension to the viewer’s perception of her. She is romanticized by the view of her face through the mirror, which softens the lines of her face and skin. There is an impressionistic use of color in her dress and fan, which takes on the appearance of Monet’s water lilies. Notice the curves of the fan and the top of the mirror as well as the other soft curves that pull the composition together.

Suggested Activities for Classroom Follow-Up

  • Have students take photographs of each other’s images as reflected in a mirror. When they see themselves as others see them, they may think it is as shocking as hearing themselves on an audio recording for the first time. Have them write their reactions to their own images in their journals.