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The Old-Fashioned Dress (Portrait of Helen Montanverde Parker)

Thomas Eakins, American, 1844 - 1916

Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America

c. 1908

Oil on canvas

60 1/8 x 40 3/16 inches (152.7 x 102.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 218, American Art, second floor (Provident National Bank Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Thomas Eakins and Miss Mary Adeline Williams, 1929

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Eakins met Helen Parker (1885–1975) when she was a young student at the School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia. She reportedly posed for Eakins about thirty-five times, two or three hours at a time, wearing this dress, which had belonged to her grandmother. The model later recalled that Eakins was fascinated by her neck and the dress itself, and not so interested in her face. Parker, who referred to this as her "Ugly Duckling portrait," donated the gown to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1961.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.