American Beauties Drawings from the Golden Age of Illustration
Woman

Wladyslaw T. Benda (1873–1948). Girl with earrings, ca. 1924. Watercolor, charcoal, graphite, and brush and ink on paper. Published as cover of Hearst's International Magazine, ca. 1924. Prints & Photographs Division (2)

Arresting and gorgeous, icons of feminine beauty from America's "golden age of illustration" (1880–1920s) dazzled viewers with an intensity, vividness and variety that still captivate us today. The creation in the 1890s of the "Gibson Girl" by Charles Dana Gibson set a standard for feminine beauty that endured for twenty years and began a decades-long fascination with idealized types of feminine beauty in America. American Beauties features early twentieth-century drawings of women selected from outstanding recent acquisitions and graphic art in the Library's Cabinet of American Illustration and the Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon.

All objects in this exhibition, unless otherwise noted, are preserved in the Prints and Photographs Division. This exhibition was prepared with support from the Caroline and Erwin Swann Memorial Fund for Caricature and Cartoon and was originally presented in the Swann Gallery of Caricature and Cartoon at the Library of Congress, June 27-September 28, 2002.