Page:Woman in Art.djvu/199

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and chat. Famous painters, English and continental as well as American, "talked shop" there, and the student behind the screen, washing brushes, absorbed all she could understand.

Spring brought notice to all studios of the impending exhibition at the Academy. And there was a prize, the Norman Dodge prize, offered for the best work in color by a woman. Mr. Irwin suggested, "Why not try for it?" Preposterous! She did not think she could even pass the jury. No harm, though, in trying.

She secured a charming, golden-haired actress, who posed in white against a yellow background, daffodils in her hands. The picture was finished at the last moment and slipped in just in time. It was hung, and it took the prize! The unknown young artist from the west was overwhelmed, uplifted, and almost terrified by her abrupt success. Her student life was ended. She had become a painter.

But unlike many young painters who have tasted their first triumph, she did not go abroad to study. She went home.

From this time her working life may be divided into three periods. The first, that in which she was developing as a portrait painter, and while her work and reputation as such was confined to her home state of California.

In 1893 Mrs. Richardson visited the Columbian Exposition, but it was not till 1899 that she had an order east of the Pacific slope. Then she was requested to go to Chicago and paint a portrait of Mr. Peabody of the Cluett Peabody Company. That being successfully finished, she had still further orders, two in Chicago and one in Buffalo. The accomplishment of those may be called the beginning of the second period. In that decade she painted many portraits, some of women, but the greater number of children and of men. Bankers, physicians, business men and educators prominent in the life of the Pacific Coast were her sitters. The most notable of these latter were John Swett, Professor Paget of the Chair of Romance Languages at the University of California, and Mrs. Mills, President of Mills College. But Mrs. Richardson was, and is, best known as a painter of genre subjects, pictures of children, or women and children. She experimented with various mediums and produced some delightful little pastel studies done out-of-doors. Usually, however, she paints in oil, and always she is first a colorist. Three small panels of hers were carried to London by a friend and attracted the favorable criticism of John Singer Sargent.

A year or two later Macbeth visited her studio in San Francisco and was