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The Art of JAMA
November 6, 2013

Yellow Calla Lilies: Anne Goldthwaite

JAMA. 2013;310(17):1774-1775. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5392

As the United States plotted a path forward in the aftermath of the Civil War, painter and printmaker Anne Goldthwaite (1869-1944) blazed her own trail, albeit at odds with accepted roles for American women. Whether sketching home folk in the South, or chronicling Continental scenes when living abroad, she would imbue her observations with a sunny spirit reflecting the elán of her own interesting life.

Born in 1869 in Alabama, Goldthwaite recalled her early childhood as a happy time, experiencing such joys as savoring sweet syllabub. On the walls of her grandparents’ home there hung copies in oil of works of old masters such as Raphael and Titian, which were duly noted by Anne. In coming years, after the untimely passing of her parents, Goldthwaite was obliged to live with an aunt in Alabama. At age 18, Goldthwaite was given a dance and reception. “There was nothing to do but to get invited to as many parties as possible and work hard to attract what beaux we could.” (Breeskin AD. Anne Goldthwaite: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Graphic Work. Montgomery, AL: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts; 1982:19.) At age 23, informed by the aunt that this advanced age signaled diminishing chances, Goldthwaite formed a life plan: “As Aunt Molly was so wise in the ways of the world, I took to art as a serious career and abandoned matrimony.” (Breeskin, p 19.)