Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists: Ruth Henshaw Bascom at the DAR Museum

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the DAR Museum’s signature works by a woman artist, Ruth Henshaw Bascom’s portrait of Frances Knowlton. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Ruth Henshaw Bascom, Frances Knowlton (1808–1885), 1830; Pastel and pencil on paper, 19 ½ x 14 ½ in.; Friends of the Museum Purchase

Ruth Henshaw Bascom, Frances Knowlton (1808–1885), 1830; Pastel and pencil on paper, 19 ½ x 14 ½ in.; Friends of the Museum Purchase

Ruth Henshaw Bascom (1772–1848), one of America’s best known folk artists, gained fame as a profilist. Her diaries, recording her travels, subjects, and interesting details of her work, are in the Manuscript Collections, American Antiquarian Society. Here she recorded the completion of Frances Knowlton’s portrait between March 4 and March 8, 1830. She also noted working on a portrait of Joseph Knowlton, the brother of Frances; this portrait is also in the DAR Museum collection. On view October 7, 2011–September 1, 2012 in By, For, and Of the People: Folk Art and Americana at the DAR Museum.

DAR Museum, 1776 D St. NW; Website: www.dar.org.