The Edgar P. Richardson Lecture Series presented by the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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September 15, 2020 to November 10, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Fine Arts, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Graduate Studies, American History / Studies


The Edgar P. Richardson Lecture Series: Women, Power, and Portraiture

The Edgar P. Richardson Lecture Series, presented as six Zoom webinars, will provide an opportunity for both scholars and the public to explore this year’s theme of Women, Power, and Portraiture.

Guest scholars will deliver the following lectures between September 15 and November 10. The Edgar P. Richardson Lecture Series takes place biennially and is made possible by the generous support of the Edgar P. Richardson Fund.  The Edgar P. Richardson Lecture Series is hosted by PORTAL, the National Portrait Gallery's Scholarly Center.

All event listings are for Eastern Standard Time. 


The Interiority of Belonging: Miki Hayakawa's Portraits

ShiPu Wang, Coats Endowed Chair in the Arts and Professor of Art History at the University of California, Merced


Tuesday, Sept. 15 

5:00 p.m.

Online via Zoom

Who is Miki Hayakawa (ミキ早川, 1899–1953)? Why is there so little known about the work of an artist who held her first solo show of 150 paintings in San Francisco in 1929, was selected for the inaugural exhibition of the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1935, and contributed to Santa Fe’s vibrant art scene alongside the likes of John Sloan and Alfred Morang? Professor ShiPu Wang will share his discoveries about Hayakawa's life and oeuvre and explore how portraiture served as a vital means for her to forge multicultural connections in diverse communities during the Exclusion Era.  Free–Registration required

Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain: Power, Femininity, and Portraiture in the Court of Felipe III

Ross Karlan, World Languages Educator at the Geffen Academy at UCLA


Tuesday, Sept. 29

5:00 p.m.

Online via Zoom


The elaborate portraits of Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain (1584–1611), by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz and Andrés López Polanco, are known for their depictions of the crown jewels and elegant clothing characteristic of Hapsburg portraiture. Yet this series, painted between 1605 and 1610, also presents Queen Margaret as a strong female ruler. Pantoja de la Cruz and Polanco portray the queen as both virtuous and feminine as well as politically cunning. This balance was particularly delicate within the contexts of dynastic factions, political alliances, and the rebirth of Spain’s royal portrait collection after it was destroyed in the 1604 fire at the Royal Palace. Free–Registration required

Marking the Middle: Loïs Mailou Jones's Mid-Century Portrait Practice

Rebecca VanDiver, Assistant Professor of African American Art at Vanderbilt University


Tuesday, Oct. 13

5:00 p.m.

Online via Zoom


During her lengthy career, African American painter Loïs Mailou Jones (1905–1998) created work in a variety of genres. Portraiture played a pivotal role in her artistic practice, from her days as an art student in 1920s Boston and her time in late 1930s Paris to her forty-five-year tenure at Howard University, and beyond. In this talk, Professor Rebecca VanDiver will examine the ways in which Jones's mid-century portrait practice enabled the artist to mark her place in the middle of the increasingly Afro-Diasporic cultural and social scenes of Paris, Washington, D.C., and Port-au-Prince. Free–Registration required

Suzanne Valadon: An Artist on View

Nancy Ireson, Deputy Director for Collections and Exhibitions & Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes Foundation


Tuesday, Oct. 20

5:00 p.m. 

Online via Zoom


Marie-Clémentine Valadon (1865–1938), who began her career as a popular artist’s model after a difficult childhood, defied the odds to become a successful painter. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec even gave her the nickname “Suzanne,” after the biblical story of Susanna and the Elders, in which two old men prey on a beautiful bathing woman.


Valadon began exhibiting her prints and drawings in the 1880s, and in the twentieth century enjoyed considerable commercial success. Reactions to her bohemian lifestyle, however, marred her critical reception. Thus, this lecture will explore how Valadon effectively 

exchanged one kind of scrutiny for another. Free–Registration required

The Veil and the Rebozo: Fashioning Identity in the Self-Portraits of María Izquierdo

Mark A. Castro, Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art


Tuesday, Oct. 27

5:00 p.m.

Online via Zoom


In her self-portraits, the painter María Izquierdo boldly proclaimed herself a member of the new generation of women artists that shaped Mexican culture after the revolution of 1910–20. By wearing clothing associated with Mexico’s Indigenous communities, Izquierdo joined her contemporaries in asserting the integral role of these Native cultures in Mexico’s new national identity. At the same time, her interest in portraiture and the utilization of her own, often ambiguous, visual language, set Izquierdo apart from the cultural production of the wider Mexican art world, which was driven by nationalist interests. Free–Registration required

Combating Racism: Betsy Graves Reyneau, Laura Wheeler Waring, and Representation of Black Achievement

Steven Nelson, Dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art


Tuesday, Nov. 10

5:00 p.m.

Online via Zoom


In the 1943, the Harmon Foundation commissioned artists Betsy Graves Reyneau and Laura Wheeler Waring to make portraits of eminent Black Americans capable of highlighting Black achievement and fighting white prejudice. These 42 paintings were first shown at the Smithsonian in 1944. This discussion will revisit this exhibition, exploring the intersection of gender, philanthropy, Black history, and African American art during and just after World War II to show the exhibition's complex formation. It will also seek to understand the work within the broader context of Americanness during the Second World War. Free–Registration required


Contact Info: 

PORTAL at the National Portrait Gallery

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