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005 Gibson, Charles Dana
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Home Ragtime Articles of Interest 005 Gibson, Charles Dana

005 Gibson, Charles Dana

E.L. Doctorow states, "In his [Younger Brother] room pinned on the wall was a newspaper drawing by Charles Dana Gibson entitled 'The Eternal Question.' It showed Evelyn in profile, with a profusion of hair, one thick strand undone and fallen in the configuration of a question mark," (5). In Victorian times, illustrators for popular magazines had as much influence on people as movies and television do today. Just as today's society looks for fashion ideas and inspiration from today's celebrities, actors and musicians, Charles Dana Gibson was looked in that way for his drawings.

Charles Dana Gibson was born on September 14, 1867 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His father was a Civil War lieutenant who dabbled as an amateur artist, and his mother was a warm-hearted woman who loved and encouraged her five children. During a childhood illness, Gibson's father taught him how to make silhouettes of people, animals, and trees, and eventually Charles became so good with the skill that when he was twelve, his parents entered his work in an exhibition that gained him his first recognition as an artist. He went on to be sent to the Art Students League in Manhattan, but unfortunately only stayed there for two years due to financial difficulties.

Finally in the fall of 1886 he managed to sell, for four dollars, a small drawing of a dog chained to his doghouse, baying at the moon. The purchaser of this work was Life magazine, at that time an influential humor publication. He saw potential with the honesty and courage in Gibson's drawing, which led him to give Gibson guidance and then more work - for the next thirty years. Month to month Gibson's income increased and he soon found himself his own studio. By 1890 the artist was working for all the major publications in New York, such as The Century, Harper's Monthly, Weekly and Bazaar, plus doing his weekly drawings for Life. Life's own drawing of a superstar came with Gibson's creation of what came to be called the "Gibson Girl". These girls were the face of a true "American Girl". Many writers have tried to describe what a "Gibson Girl" consists of. Some descriptions include that she is taller than other women in magazines, more spirited and independent, but still feminine. She is poised and usually well bred, but there is a hint of mischief in her eyes. The country went into "Gibsonmania".

Evelyn Nesbit became known as a Gibson Girl in Gibson's 1905 portrayal titled Women: The Eternal Question. In the pen-and-ink drawing the profile of Evelyn Nesbit is shown with her red hair forming a question mark around her head. The drawing shows the confusion and questioning the public was concerned with when it came to Evelyn's love life. Her husband killed her lover and was sent to prison for it. In Ragtime the book states, "Evelyn Nesbit had caused the death of one man and wrecked the life of another," (6). No one knew who she really loved and if she was regretful for what happened. "The Eternal Question" remains one of Gibson's best known works.

E.L. Doctorow states, "In his [Younger Brother] room pinned on the wall was a newspaper drawing by Charles Dana Gibson entitled 'The Eternal Question.' It showed Evelyn in profile, with a profusion of hair, one thick strand undone and fallen in the configuration of a question mark," (5). In Victorian times, illustrators for popular magazines had as much influence on people as movies and television do today. Just as today's society looks for fashion ideas and inspiration from today's celebrities, actors and musicians, Charles Dana Gibson was looked in that way for his drawings.

Charles Dana Gibson was born on September 14, 1867 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His father was a Civil War lieutenant who dabbled as an amateur artist, and his mother was a warm-hearted woman who loved and encouraged her five children. During a childhood illness, Gibson's father taught him how to make silhouettes of people, animals, and trees, and eventually Charles became so good with the skill that when he was twelve, his parents entered his work in an exhibition that gained him his first recognition as an artist. He went on to be sent to the Art Students League in Manhattan, but unfortunately only stayed there for two years due to financial difficulties.

Finally in the fall of 1886 he managed to sell, for four dollars, a small drawing of a dog chained to his doghouse, baying at the moon. The purchaser of this work was Life magazine, at that time an influential humor publication. He saw potential with the honesty and courage in Gibson's drawing, which led him to give Gibson guidance and then more work - for the next thirty years. Month to month Gibson's income increased and he soon found himself his own studio. By 1890 the artist was working for all the major publications in New York, such as The Century, Harper's Monthly, Weekly and Bazaar, plus doing his weekly drawings for Life. Life's own drawing of a superstar came with Gibson's creation of what came to be called the "Gibson Girl". These girls were the face of a true "American Girl". Many writers have tried to describe what a "Gibson Girl" consists of. Some descriptions include that she is taller than other women in magazines, more spirited and independent, but still feminine. She is poised and usually well bred, but there is a hint of mischief in her eyes. The country went into "Gibsonmania".

Evelyn Nesbit became known as a Gibson Girl in Gibson's 1905 portrayal titled Women: The Eternal Question. In the pen-and-ink drawing the profile of Evelyn Nesbit is shown with her red hair forming a question mark around her head. The drawing shows the confusion and questioning the public was concerned with when it came to Evelyn's love life. Her husband killed her lover and was sent to prison for it. In Ragtime the book states, "Evelyn Nesbit had caused the death of one man and wrecked the life of another," (6). No one knew who she really loved and if she was regretful for what happened. "The Eternal Question" remains one of Gibson's best known works.

 

http://www.gibson-girls.com/gibson-5.html

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 10:13  

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