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The Duet (or The Interlude)

The Duet (or The Interlude), 1922, Oil on Canvas
Thomas Dewing (American, 1851 – 1938)

Thomas Dewing was born in Boston and moved to Paris in 1876 to study at the Académie Julian. Once he completed his studies, he moved back to America and married artist Maria Oakey. In the 1880s, the young and well-connected couple formed part of a community of rising artists in New York City. Outside the city, Dewing and Oakey would come to lead the artist's colony in Cornish, New Hampshire for 15 years.

The Duet (or The Interlude) is exemplary of Dewing’s Tonalist figure paintings of aristocratic women in moody, dreamlike surroundings. The aloof women in Dewing's paintings play music, write letters, or engage with one another. They have a certain detachment from the viewer, creating a sense of spectatorship.