Lilian Westcott Hale: The Convalescent (1906)

Lilian Westcott Hale, (Hartford, CT 1880 − St. Paul, MN 1963), The Convalescent (Zeffy in Bed) ,1906, oil on canvas, 30 3/16 × 22 inches (76.676 × 55.88 cm), Sheldon Museum of Art, Nebraska Art Association, Beatrice Rohman Fund.

Echoes of Japanese Prints – and Monet

Lilian Westcott Hale, whose work is associated with the Boston School of American Impressionism, painted The Convalescent in 1906, shortly after completion of her formal art training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. Typical of American Impressionists of the time, Hale chose an intimate and inviting scene of her favorite model, Rose Zeffler, known as Zeffy, who “is shown curled up in bed, swaddled in blankets so that only her head and the outline of her body are visible.” Sheldon Museum of Art, This canvas’s color palette, radical foreshortening, and skewed perspective demonstrates the artist’s interest in both Japanese prints and the paintings of Claude Monet.

In 1906 Hale exhibited “The Convalescent” (now titled Zeffy in Bed… at the prestigious Fenway Studios in Boston. This painting received favorable reviews in the Boston press, favoring Lilian’s composition over that of her husband. Hale’s steadfast model, Rose Zeffler, was the subject of many drawings and paintings. “Zeffy,” as she was known by Hale, was the model for a group of drawings at the Fourth Annual Water Color Club Exhibition in Philadelphia, held at the Pennsylvania Academy in April, 1907.

Carney Gallery,

“American Impressionists wanted their pictures to be intimate and inviting. Close viewpoints, off-center compositions, cropped edges, compressed space, bright colors, and sketch-like brushwork were among the ways in which they achieved their goals.”

Florence Griswold Museum

“With Butterfly’s Wings”

Carney Gallery at Regis College Fine Arts Center in Weston, Massachusetts, hosted an exhibition of Lilian Westcott Hale’s works in 1999. The exhibition’s title echoes a quote from successful artist William McGregor Paxton, who said that Lilian Westcott Hale drew “with butterfly’s wings.” .

Like Mary Cassatt and other female artists of her day, Hale devoted much of her attention to the sheltered world of women, but Hale’s “drawings are veiled in a soft haze, the product of a technique based on thousands of wispy vertical strokes. While other figures in this show trumpet their importance, gazing assertively at the viewer, the women in Hale’s drawings are caught in intimate, contemplative moments.” (Christine Temin, 1986)

Indeed, Lilian Westcott Hale’s drawings and paintings do seem to evoke that image of soft precision – and sublime artistry.


  • Title: The Convalescent
  • Artist: Lilian Westcott Hale, 1881 – 1963
  • Sitter: Unidentified Woman
  • Date: c. 1912 (note that some sources record 1906)?
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 76.2 x 55.2 cm (30 x 21 3/4″ )
  • Credit Line: Owner: Sheldon Museum of Art
  • Website:  Sheldon Museum of Art

More At Sunnyside


Florence Griswold Museum, Hartford Steam Boiler CollectionThe American Artist in Connecticut, , (accessed 21Oct 2018).

Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Carney Gallery at Regis College Fine Arts Center in Weston, Massachusetts.

Pierce Galleries, Inc.

Temin, Christine (1986). “115 Years of Boston Art; ‘Painters of an Elegant Age’. . .: [THIRD Edition]”. Boston Globe Newspaper.

Wikipedia contributors, “Lilian Westcott Hale,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 21, 2018).

Thanks for Reading! 😊



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Your posts are such a resource! They expand the scope of my knowledge about art.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting, Anna.🙂❤️


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