Ellen Emmet Rand (also Ellen (Bay) Gertrude Emmet (Rand); March 4, 1875 – December 18, 1941) was a painter and illustrator. She specialized in portraits, painting over 500 works during her career including portraits of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and her cousins Henry James and William James. Rand studied at the Cowles Art School in Boston and the Art Students League in New York City and produced illustrations for Vogue Magazine and Harper's Weekly before traveling to England and then France to study with sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies. The William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut owns the largest collection of her painted works and the Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut and the Archives of American Art within the Smithsonian Institution both have collections of her papers, photographs, and drawings.
Early life and family
Ellen Emmet Rand was the third of six children born to Ellen James Temple Emmet and Christopher Temple Emmet. Ellen was born in San Francisco but moved to New York after her father's death in 1884. Her cousins were Lydia Field Emmet (1866-1952), Rosina Emmet Sherwood (1854–1948), and Jane Emmet de Glehn (1873–1961) and the writers Henry James (1843 – 1916) and William James (1842-1910). She married William Blanchard Rand in 1911 and had three sons. Rand's primary studio was in New York City but she would also work in Salisbury, Connecticut where her family lived.
Rand studied with Dennis Miller Bunker and attended the Cowles Art School in Boston and then from 1889-93 registered for classes at the Art Students League of New York. Rand then attended the William Merritt Chase's Shinnecock summer art school. Harry McVickar, editor of Vogue Magazine, saw her work in an exhibit for the summer school and asked her to illustrate for the magazine. She also illustrated for Harper's Weekly and Harper's Bazaar. In 1896 Rand travelled to England and eventually settled in Paris to study with MacMonnies. Also in France and studying with MacMonnies was fellow American artist Mary Foote. Rand returned to New York City in 1900 and began her painting career in earnest.
Rand focused her energy and output on painting portraits of corporate directors, society women, politicians, scientists, professors, lawyers and artists in the United States. Her portraits of the singer Susan Metcalfe Casals, her husband celloist Pablo Casals, and opera singer Charles Gilibert, as well as her portraits of sculptor Saint-Gaudens and MacMonnies, all attest to her engagement with the arts in the first decade of the twentieth century. In terms of politicians she claimed to have started a work on a portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt but she "had to give it up. 'It was ridiculous,' she recalled. 'He couldn't sit still—especially with children going in and out of the studio with snakes and spiders.'" Rand did, however, complete three portraits of President Franklin Roosevelt, including his official presidential portrait. She was the second female artist commissioned to produce a presidential portrait. After his death, the portrait was moved to the Roosevelt estate and future FDR Library in Hyde Park, NY. It is unclear exactly why such a move was made, although there are letters exchanged between President Harry Truman and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt concerning the transfer of the portrait. Another portrait was then used to replace the Rand work in the White House. In 2004 the portrait was reported missing from the Library. Rand also painted three U.S. Secretaries of State including John Milton Hay, Elihu Root, and Henry Lewis Stimson.
Governor William H. Vanderbilt III by Ellen Emmet Rand
The William Benton Museum of Art, Ellen Emmet Rand Online Gallery
Harvard University Art Museums, Rt. Rev. William T. Lawrence (1850-1941)
-. William Watson Goodwin (1831-1912)
-. Ada Louise Comstock (1876-1973)
-. Richard Glover Ames (died 1935) and Henry Russell Ames (died 1935)
Hill-Stead Museum, Ada Brooks Pope
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Augustus Saint-Gaudens
-. Armory S. Carhart, Jr.
-. Benjamin Altman
-. William Sloane Coffin
Smithsonian Museum of Art, Mary Elizabeth Marvin Goodrich (wife of Benjamin Goodrich)
Vanderbilt University Art Collection, Ann Gordon Colby (Mrs. William Vanderbilt III)
-. Ellen French Vanderbilt
-. William H. Vanderbilt III
Winterthur Museums Collections, Henry Algernon du Pont
-. Henry Francis du Pont
-. Mary Pauline Foster du Pont
United States Secretaries of State Gallery
"Emmet Family Art". www.emmetart.com. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
Tappert, Tara Leigh (1993). The Emmets: A Generation of Gifted Women. Borghi & Co., New York. pp. 37–38.
"Parrish Art Museum".
Hoppin, Martha (1982). The Emmets: A Family of Women Painters. Berkshire Museum. pp. 30–31.
"Time magazine, Aug. 23, 1954".
Mazzola, Emily (2015). "Enabling Authority: Ellen Emmet Rand, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Power of Portraiture". DigitalCommons@UConn.
Trescott, Jacqueline (December 4, 2004). "Washington Post". Retrieved March 6, 2016.
National Museum of Women Artists Database
Smithsonian American Art Museum page
National Archives, Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to President Harry S. Truman concerning the Rand portrait of FDR
National Archives, Letter from President Truman to E. Roosevelt concerning the Rand portrait of FDR
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