February 26, 2013 "The Gibson Girl's America: Drawings by Charles Dana Gibson" Exhibition Opens at Library of Congress on March 30

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Martha Kennedy (202) 707-9115
Contact: View the exhibition online. | Images available in online pressroom at www.loc.gov/pressroom/

In the 1890s, illustrator Charles Dana Gibson created the “Gibson Girl,” a vibrant, new feminine ideal—a young woman who pursued higher education, romance, marriage, physical well-being and individuality with unprecedented independence. Until World War I, the Gibson Girl set the standard for beauty, fashion and manners.

The Library of Congress announces a new exhibition, “The Gibson Girl’s America: Drawings by Charles Dana Gibson,” which opens Saturday, March 30 in the Graphic Arts Galleries on the ground level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., and runs through Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. The exhibition is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

“The Gibson Girl’s America” presents 24 works, primarily drawings. The exhibition highlights the rise of the Gibson Girl from the 1890s through the first two decades of the 20th century. It also illuminates how women’s increasing presence in the public sphere contributed to the social fabric of turn-of-the-20th-century America.

The items on display trace the arc of the artist’s career. Gibson (1867-1944) came of age when women’s roles were expanding and social mobility was increasing. He trained at the Art Students League in New York City and also in Europe. The artist created satirical illustrations based on his observations of upper-middle-class life for such mainstream magazines as Life, Collier’s Weekly, Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s and Century.

Through creation and development of the Gibson Girl, the artist, an acclaimed master of pen-and-ink drawings, experienced unrivaled professional and popular success. Gibson’s skills and prolific output meshed with the high-volume demand at the time for magazine illustrations. His bold style and virtuoso technique exerted enormous influence on his peers and succeeding generations of illustrators.

The exhibition will be organized into five sections: Creating an Ideal, The Gibson Girl as the “New Woman,” Social Relations Between the Sexes, High Society Scenes and Political Cartoonist. The exhibition presents a selection of Gibson’s lesser-known political images, spotlighting the concerns he addressed in his later work.

The items in the exhibition are drawn from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, which holds the premier public collection of original drawings by Gibson.

The Prints and Photographs Division also includes approximately 14.4 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day. International in scope, these visual collections represent a uniquely rich array of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor: science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/print/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


PR 13-028
ISSN 0731-3527