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Lemuel Everett Wilmarth - On Guard

Lemuel Wilmarth (1835-1918), American

On Guard, around 1874

OIL ON CANVAS, 26 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches

Gift of Mrs. Theodora Willard Best


Lemuel Wilmarth was among America's most respected teachers of art during the later nineteenth century. He established his own artistic reputation upon the credentials of his European training in both Munich and Paris and his accomplishments as a genre and still life painter. 

On Guard is one of two known versions of this scene; the artist gave the other, Left in Charge, to the National Academy of Design in New York. In both paintings, a young girl admonishes her dog to watch over her sleeping sibling. Their ornate living room is typical of the period, but Wilmarth has contrived the furniture to silhouette the dog's alert profile against a bright red tablecloth and thereby focus primary attention on the painting's genial narrative.