Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861–1948)

On the Veranda, 1887

Oil on canvas, 20 1/4 x 26 1/4 in. (51.4 x 66.7 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.152

Best remembered for his fashionable portraits of women, Irving Ramsey Wiles produced works that captured the informal elegance characteristic of cosmopolitan American art at the turn of the twentieth century. In On the Veranda, three young women enjoy a summer afternoon on the wide, columned porch of a country home. Two sit in a pool of afternoon sunlight; one of them seems lost in a pensive reverie. Hanging laundry in the background, mismatched chairs, and the open porch gate add touches of informality to the scene. A celebration of the pleasures and ease of everyday life, On the Veranda exemplifies an artistic interest in middle-class leisure during the decades following the American Civil War (1861–65). Picturing women in domestic settings as symbols of the peace and growing prosperity of America’s Gilded Age, Wiles advances an idyllic vision of his country.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.