In August 1928, Lillian Genth’s name was in the news. Again.
She had achieved much during her career as an artist – a student of Whistler beginning in 1890; a working artist in Paris in the earliest years of the 20th century; exhibitions at the National Academy of Design in New York, among many others; a solo show at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; winner in 1909 of a prize for best painting by an American from the National Academy of Design. Much of Genth’s early work focused on nudes and was the subject for which she became most famous.
Something changed, however, in the late summer of 1928. The New York Evening Post and several other publications ran the story: “Noted Woman Painter of Nudes Forswears Inspiration of the Flesh.” In an interview with the New York Evening Journal, Genth suggested of her transition, “Perhaps it will be for the good of my soul.” With that enigmatic pronouncement, she produced work for the next twenty-five years drawn largely from her travels around the world.
This exhibit begins as the first phase of Genth’s career ended.
Carl and Edith Weeks of Des Moines, Iowa, first acquired a stunning example of a Genth nude in 1925, and then collected several other works from later in the artist’s career. The Weekses commissioned Edith’s portrait from Genth as well, and ultimately added at least ten of her paintings to their extensive collection. Today, Salisbury House presents a retrospective of Genth’s work contextualized by her friendship with the Weeks family of Des Moines.
*Special thanks to the Des Moines Women’s Club for graciously loaning Genth’s The Terrace to Salisbury House for this exhibit.
**Nationally renowned art conservator Barry Bauman has recently restored every painting included in this exhibit. For more information on Mr. Bauman’s work, visit baumanconservation.com