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Forrest Wentworth [active 1920s]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

WENTWORTH, Forest [active 1920s]

“Martha C. C. Tennant”

circa 1920

oil on wood panel / 18 inches by 11 inches

Before the Great Depression, it wasn’t uncommon in smaller communities to find portraits of middle class people. Yes, the Community Collection includes the faces of politicians, judges and bankers. But it also celebrates businessmen, homemakers, and one young bride on the eve of her wedding.

This bittersweet portrait of Martha Curtiss Tennant, painted in the mid-1920s by artist Forrest Wentworth, silhouettes her profile dramatically against an open window. She holds a caliper once owned by her architect son, thought to have perished with the sinking of the Lusitania, but gazes wistfully beyond the frame into her recent past. Ten years later, the family would be reunited, when he was found living in Spain, an amnesiac.

The painting is on long-term loan from the extended Tennant family.


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