Suffrage Painting Question

By The History Detectives Team
2 July 2007
Category: Viewer Mailbag

Dear Gwen, 
I have two questions prompted by your fascinating segment on the women's suffrage painting. 1) I didn't understand how you generated the short list of individuals named Dale from which you identified the actual artist. Can you elaborate? 2) Is the image analysis performed on the painting generally the same as what would be done if someone pays to have a painting appraised, or was it a more sophisticated service that would perhaps more likely be used by academics or museums?

Dear Eric,

Thanks for your interest in that wonderful segment on the Woman's Suffrage poster. Frankly, I cannot remember which dictionary I used since there are several: Artists in AmericaBiographical Index of American Artists; and the Dictionary of American Artists. Any good library would have them. Just make sure you get one that after the period of time that interests you, long enough after that the biographies of lesser known individuals will have been entered. As far as the conservation analysis at the Library of Congress, that was indeed very sophisticated state-of-the-art equipment that most appraisers don't have. It's used in part to detect big-time forgeries. However good appraisers would have the infra-red lights to detect brighteners and changes added over time. Good luck in your own investigations.

All the best,

Gwen Wright


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