On View

In the Spring

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

In the Spring

Artist: Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones (American, 1885 - 1968)
Date: ca. 1905
Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall: 35 1/4 x 40 in. (89.5 x 101.6 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Mrs. Florence Carpenter, 1941.2
Accession number: 1941.2
Classification: painting
Label Text In the Spring depicts the millinery department at Wanamakers, a former department store in downtown Philadelphia. Sparhawk-Jones composed the picture from a vivid palette and an application of loose brushstrokes. This creates the sense of a moment that’s quickly passing by, and evokes the experience of shopping. Department stores were a relatively new phenomenon when the artist executed this painting. Offering a wide selection of readymade goods in different sections, the stores were symbolic of industrialization and growing consumerism. But they also helped lay the groundwork for the rights of middle-class women: while in-store they were allowed to walk unchaperoned. This was unheard of during a time when it was largely illegal for women to enter public spaces without a male escort. October, 2020
SignedElizabeth Jones Sparhawk (l,l oil paint)
Exhibition History"Commitment, Community and Controversy: The Des Moines Art Center Collections," Des Moines Art Center, Jan. 24 - May 10, 1998

"Selected Works from the Des Moines Art Center's Permanent Collection," organized by the Waterloo Municipal Galleries, sponsored by the National Bank of Waterloo, Oct. 25 - Nov. 20, 1983; (Circulated to: Charles H. MacNider Museum, Mason City, Jan. 15 - Feb. 26, 1984; Muscatine Art Center, April 1 - May 13, 1984; Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, May 27 - July 1, 1984; Sioux City Art Center, July 15 - Aug. 26, 1984)
Published ReferencesRichard F. Snow, ed., "The Winter Art Show," AMERICAN HERITAGE MAGAZINE, Vol.44, No.1, Feb./Mar. 1993, color ill. p.100

DES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, Des Moines Art Center, 1985, ref. pp.201 & 202, b/w ill. pl.132, p.201

"Selected Works from the Des Moines Art Center's Permanent Collection," Waterloo Municipal Galleries, 1983, exh. cat. no.35, color ill.
entirely unexpected