An Anxious Mother

oil on canvas
16 x 12 in.
Credit line
Gift of the Girls Classical School
Accession number
Not Currently On View

De Luce was a noted portrait and genre painter.

An Anxious Mother is a typical Victorian scene of a child at play.

This is the first painting acquired by the museum after it was founded in 1883.



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An Interest in Genre Painting and Portraiture

Percival De Luce was born in New York City. He trained under Joseph Pratelo in Brussels, Belgium, and Léon Bonnat in Paris. After returning to New York, De Luce specialized in genre painting and portraiture. He was a member of several organizations, including the National Academy of Design, the American Water Color and the Artists’ Fund Societies, and the Salmagundi Club. He is little known today; however, he was a very successful painter in his own time.

An Anxious Mother is a simple Victorian scene of a child at play. The subject matter demonstrates De Luce’s interest in Northern European genre painting. The little girl is absorbed in the task of feeding her baby doll. She seems overdressed by today’s standards, but her clothes reflect a level of taste typical of the Victorian era. Purchased from the museum’s first loan exhibition with funds provided by the Girls Classical School, this painting was the first work of art to enter the permanent collection. Note the painting’s accession number, 83.1, which means it was the first painting acquired by the museum in its inaugural year, 1883.

Isham, Samuel. History of American Painting. London: MacMillan Press, 1944.