Mary Elizabeth Hutchinson Portrait
Lola was my husband's aunt, and she lived in Manhattan her whole life. And she grew up there. And in the '20s she worked at a nightclub, and she just had a really exciting life, and that's how this painting came about.
Who's the artist of the painting?
The artist is Mary Elizabeth Hutchinson. I know that she was from Atlanta. She painted in New York in the '30s. And I know that she had a retrospective at the Atlanta Art Museum probably about ten years ago. But that's about all I really know about her.
And you know that there was a relationship between her and Lola.
Yes-- Lola used to tell me every time she sat for her for this portrait, Mary would pursue her and her affections. And Lola liked Mary a lot and loved the painting, but she wasn't quite prepared to go that far for a sitting.
Well, with all that we know about artists, we know there's often relationships that develop between artists and their sitters. But it's pretty clear that the artist admired Lola a great deal, and she painted her as a very beautiful woman. But you have photographs that the artist also took of Lola... Yes. ...which show that she was indeed a stunningly beautiful young woman.
She was very beautiful. She was a cigarette girl at the Copa in New York, and she also was married to the manager of the Copa. And she told me that that's how she met a lot of these people, you know, artists and musicians, and kind of how she gained relationships with them.
Well, she represents a whole era in New York, in that sort of glamorous period of the '20s and the '30s, when people did go to nightclubs, dress up. Being a cigarette girl was a profession. As far as the artist is concerned, people who watch the show regularly might know that I have kind of a particular interest in women artists. And many of them are quite little known today, unfortunately. We're trying to rectify that. There are two auction records I was able to find for her. One is a painting that's a portrait rather like this, which sold for $4,800 a couple of years ago. So I would say that, given her reputation being as small as it is at this point, we can still say an auction estimate of between $4,000 and $6,000 on this picture.
Well, thank you so much.
Thanks for bringing it.
Yep, I think Lola would be thrilled.
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