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Catalog Data

Artist:
Jo Davidson, 30 Mar 1883 - 2 Jan 1952  Search this
Sitter:
Helen Adams Keller, 27 Jun 1880 - 1 Jun 1968  Search this
Polly Thomson, 1885 - 1960  Search this
Medium:
Graphite on paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 27.5 × 20 cm (10 13/16 × 7 7/8")
Mat (original mat): 41.9 × 34.3 cm (16 1/2 × 13 1/2")
Estimated A sized mat, vertical. Needs to be ummatted.
Type:
Drawing
Date:
1948
Exhibition Label:
Born Tuscumbia, Alabama
Helen Keller became blind and deaf when she was nineteen months old, but with the help of her teacher Anne Sullivan, she learned to communicate via tactile sign language. Keller went on to graduate cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1904 and write The Story of My Life (1903), an acclaimed autobiography that has been translated into dozens of languages. She remains an admired symbol of the human spirit’s power to overcome adversity. In 1924, Keller became the official spokesperson for the newly formed American Foundation for the Blind and, thanks to her successful lobbying, gained inclusion of a clause in the Social Security Act of 1935 that made the blind eligible for grant assistance. Sculptor Jo Davidson created bust portraits while closely observing his subjects and their movements. These studies of Keller capture both the artist’s process and the elegance of Keller as she converses with her companion Polly Thompson (1885–1960).
Nacida en Tuscumbia, Alabama
Helen Keller quedó ciega y sorda a los 19 meses de nacida, pero con ayuda de la maestra Anne Sullivan aprendió a comunicarse mediante un lenguaje táctil de señas. En 1903 escribió La historia de mi vida, una celebrada autobiografía que se ha traducido a docenas de idiomas, y en 1904 se graduó cum laude de Radcliffe College. Keller continúa siendo un símbolo admirado del poder del espíritu humano para superar la adversidad. En 1924, Keller se convirtió en portavoz oficial de la recién creada Fundación Americana para Ciegos y gracias a su activismo se logró incluir en la Ley de Seguridad Social de 1935 una cláusula que daba a las personas ciegas el derecho de recibir ayuda económica. Para hacer sus retratos, el escultor Jo Davidson observaba con atención a sus modelos y el modo en que se movían. Estos estudios de Keller revelan dicho método, captando la elegancia de la retratada mientras conversa con su acompañante Polly Thompson (1885–1960).
Topic:
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses  Search this
Indeterminable  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Female  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Literature\Writer  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Education\Educator\Lecturer  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Social Reformer  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Literature\Writer\Novelist  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Humanitarian  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Literature\Writer\Essayist  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Society and Social Change\Physically disabled\Blind  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Society and Social Change\Physically disabled\Deaf  Search this
Helen Adams Keller: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Polly Thomson: Female  Search this
Polly Thomson: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.2017.12
Restrictions & Rights:
© 2017, Estate of Jo Davidson
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.2017.12