Oil on canvas
Unframed: 160 x 84.5 cm (63 x 33 1/4 in.)
Gift of Helen C. Butler 1915.76
George Butler studied with the American artist Thomas Hicks in New York City before going to Paris in 1859 to study with Thomas Couture, whose most famous pupils included Édouard Manet and Puvis de Chavannes. He returned to the United States and served in the Union Army during the Civil War, at which point he lost his right arm. He went to Italy in 1875, where he remained for a number of years. During his stay abroad, Butler painted Capri Lace Maker. Although to a contemporary viewer this work may seem to be a fairly traditional, conservative composition, the bravura of the brushwork and the thick layers of pigment mark the European influence on Butler's style. An accomplished academic painter, Butler was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1873 and exhibited this work there in 1884. A gift of the artist's daughter, Capri Lace Maker was the first painting to enter the museum's collection on February 2, 1915.
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