HARRY MILLS WALCOTT (1870–1944)
The Cotillion, about 1906
Oil on canvas, 24 x 44 in.
Signed (at lower right): HMWALCOTT
RECORDED: C. H., “The Winter Exhibition of the National Academy of Design,” The Burr McIntosh Monthly 12 (February 1907), n.p. // “Als Ik Kan: Notes: Reviews,” The Craftsman 11 (February 1907), p. 635
EXHIBITED: National Academy of Design, New York, 1906–07, Winter Exhibition, no. 297 illus. facing p. 44 // Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1907, First Annual Exhibition, Oil Paintings by Contemporary American Artists, no. 268 // Carnegie Institute, 1907, International Exhibition of Paintings // Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, 1907, Fourteenth Annual Exhibition of American Art, no. 242, as “The Children’s Cotillion” // Art Institute of Chicago, 1907, 20th Annual Exhibition, no. 403 // Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1908, 103rd Annual Exhibition, no. 608 // Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, California, 1915, no. 2220, as “The Children’s Cotillon [sic]”
EX COLL.: the artist; to his wife, Mrs. Anabel Walcott, Coronado, California; by bequest to Mabel Kearney (Mrs. Samuel Graham), Coronado, California; and by descent in the family, until 2011
The Cotillion, painted about 1906, is one of Walcott’s most important paintings. It depicts a large group of paired adolescent dancers in a grand ballroom. It is said that the painting was inspired by Miss Kathryn Simonds’ dance class in Newark, New Jersey, apparently held at a location near Walcott’s summer studio. Walcott had fifteen young members of the dance class pose for the painting. The extreme horizontality and cropping of the figures places the emphasis squarely on the swirling forms of the young dancers. The painting is reminiscent of the works of the British Pre-Raphaelites in its lifelike rendering of the youths and the highly decorative nature of the design.