Harry Willson Watrous (American, 1857-1940)
Oil on canvas
17 x 21 3/8 inches
Gift of Nathan and Jessie Kimberly Paine
Regardless of subject, Watrous’s works are meticulously painted and rich in intriguing details. Between 1905 and 1918, Watrous painted a series of charming domestic scenes featuring stylish women in elaborate interiors, often accompanied by unusual birds, insects, or animals. With their highly refined style, harmonious color palette, and symbolic content, these works represent the most innovative phase of the artist’s career. Dating from this period, The Composers depicts an elegant woman seated at a table writing a letter. A pair of crows inspects the letter, and the scene is set against a backdrop of ornate wallpaper. Watrous’s ability to render the delicate translucence of the woman’s garment demonstrates his remarkable skill in painting fine details.