The Red Tam

Creation date
oil on canvas
19-1/2 x 15 in. 25-5/8 x 21 in. (framed)
Credit line
Purchased from the George T. Carleton Bequest
Accession number
Not Currently On View

This work exhibits a careful balancing of form and color.  The flow of the red tam into the green scarf enlivens the simplified volumes of the face.

Kroll's traditional approach was at odds with the modernist artist's desire to experiment with new styles and methods.

Purchased from the artist
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

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Leon Kroll’s Female Subjects

Leon Kroll became interested in art as a child. He was born in New York City, and studied there, at the Art Students League. He also attended the Acadèmie Julian in Paris, where he won the Grand Prix for painting the nude model. Although the Ashcan School painters were his friends, Kroll favored idealized and contemplative female figures, rather than the urban, gritty subject matter of the Ashcan artists. In addition to individual female subjects, Kroll painted figural groups, landscapes, and still lifes. Kroll’s traditional approach to painting and his choice of conventional subjects were at odds with some of the modernist, experimental attitudes of his day. He regarded stable design as the most important element of painting and his works are characterized by a careful balance of form and color. Despite his academic approach, Kroll achieved great success in his lifetime and won almost every major painting prize.

The Red Tam exhibits Kroll’s mastery of form and color. The juxtaposition of the red tam and the green scarf draws attention to the sitter’s facial features. The portrait is one of three depicting the daughter of Hermon MacNeil, an American sculptor. Of his subjects, Kroll valued “the look in their eyes, their gestures, but all of this organized, with all the care and judgment [he was] capable of, into a beautiful design.”

Hale, Nancy and Fredson Bowers. Leon Kroll: A Spoken Memoir. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983.

Leeds, Valerie Ann. Leon Kroll: Revisited. Santa Fe: Gerald Peters Gallery, 1998.