Ask Morgana 017: Evelyn Nesbit – the original ‘Gibson Girl’?

Evelyn Nesbit (1884-1967)

When Gibson drew ‘Woman: the Eternal Question’ – seen below – I am not sure whether he took it from a pre-existing photograph, or whether Evelyn Nesbit posed for it after the event.

evelyn 1

Evelyn’s mother stated that she never allowed her daughter to pose ‘in the altogether’, and in fact overt sexuality was never an integral part of Gibson’s drawings. However, Evelyn was painted in the nude by James Carroll Beckwith, and photographed in décolletage by Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. There is also at least one photograph in circulation, attributed to Eickemeyer, said to be of Evelyn Nesbit with her bust uncovered. I’m including these images here. Although this series of photographs is not meant to be one of obvious erotica – and in fact I consider that the photographs of young women here fully clothed are just as erotic in their own way – I don’t think that they are in any way out-of-place. What do you think? Contact me.

Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit, by James Carroll Beckwith.

Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit, by James Carroll Beckwith.

 

Evelyn Nesbit, attrib. Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr.

Evelyn Nesbit, attrib. Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr.

For comparison, an authenticated photograph of Nesbit by Eickemeyer.

For comparison, an authenticated photograph of Nesbit by Eickemeyer.

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