I love the wildly different depictions of the free-spirit socialite, artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney these two portraits present. Howard G. Cushing paints her as a young society wife, in a diaphanous lace gown and a strand of pearls, sitting like a proper lady. About 15 years later Ashcan artist Robert Henri portrays her as a full-fledged bohemian, lounging on the sofa in Oriental-inspired pants. (Her husband was so worried that a portrait of his wife wearing trousers would scandalize their visitors that he refused to hang the painting in their Fifth Avenue apartment.)
All images from the Whitney Museum.