Smithsonian American Art Museum Director Elizabeth Broun shares her thoughts about personal favorites from the museum collection.
A few years ago when the museum considered buying this painting, called The Sick Child by J. Bond Francisco, some people thought the subject was just too sentimental, too Victorian and schmaltzy. We acquired it anyway because in the early 20th century, it was one of the most famous American paintings anywhere. The artist kept it in his studio until he died, in 1931, but thousands of reproductions had been made of it and displayed in doctors' offices all across the country. The Sick Child was familiar to every parent who ever had a desperately ill child.
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