Portrait of George Burnham
Cecilia Beaux, American, 1855 - 1942
The two sides of George Burnham (1817-1912) are expressed in this simultaneously dignified and informal portrait. An engineer who became the chief financial officer of Philadelphia's world-famous Baldwin Locomotive Works, Burnham was also a dedicated member of the First Swedenborgian Church.
Cecilia Beaux, the favored portrait painter of Philadelphia's elite, depicts Burnham in a somber business suit, but sitting in a stylishly rustic chair on the porch of his summer house at Lake George, New York. Against a backdrop of pines that hints at his spiritual connection to nature, he holds a book that may be one of the many church publications he sponsored.