Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Art of Cecilia Beaux

George Burnham, 1886

Painting of George Burnham

Beaux’s prominent clients included George Burnham, chief financial officer of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, depicted here in 1887 on the porch of his summer home in Lake George, New York. (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Philadelphia Museum of Art

George Burnham was chief financial officer of Philadelphia’s Baldwin Locomotive Works and a prominent member of the First Swedenborgian Church. In the summer of 1886 he asked Beaux to come to his summer home in Lake George, New York, to paint a portrait of him. The sitter’s attire, demeanor, and attributes such as the gold pocket watch, glasses, and book, all point to a man of wealth, dignity and learning. Beaux enlivens the somber palette with glints of sunshine on the face, rustic rocker, and birch trees, presaging her en plein air (outdoor) studies in France a year later.

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