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Seymour Joseph Guy - Red Riding Hood

Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910), British-American
Red Riding Hood, around 1866
OIL ON CANVAS, 8 1/16 x 12 3/8 inches
Gift of Mrs. Theodora Willard Best

The modern nursery tale of Little Red Riding Hood derives from tra­ditional folk stories circulated in both Europe and Scandinavia. First published by the French author Charles Perrault in 1697, the story's most popular version did not acquire a happy ending until the early nine­teenth century, when it was added by the German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. In Guy's painting, Red, who does not suspect the wolf's wickedness, inno­cently points the way to her grandmother's house, where the wolf will set his trap.

One art historian, David Lubin, has suggested that the popularity of such depictions of vulnerable young girls, including this particular painting, reflected a conservative reassertion of women's dependence on men at a time when leaders such as suffragist Susan B. Anthony were agitating for women's rights.