Strike a Pose!

Meet Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the founder of the Whitney Museum! She was also a sculptor, an art collector, and a great supporter of American artists. Robert Henri painted this portrait in 1916, when most American women had long hair and wore long skirts or dresses, but here Mrs. Whitney has short hair and poses on a couch in brightly colored silk pajamas. Mrs. Whitney’s portrait would have seemed shocking at that time. In fact, her husband wouldn’t allow her to hang this portrait in their home because she was wearing pants, so she hung it in her studio instead.

Make a portrait of someone in your family. Discuss what your subject will wear, how they will pose, and what you want to show about their personality.

See all Whitney Kids Art Challenges.

Robert Henri, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 1916. Oil on canvas, 49 15/16 × 72in. (126.8 × 182.9 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Flora Whitney Miller 86.70.3

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