The Gift

Myers--The Gift.jpg

Dublin Core



Four children encounter each other upon a path in Central Park, the city skyline silhouetted against a colorful sky. Two older—and, judging from their clothing, apparently wealthier—children accept a flower offered by a young girl holding a larger bunch in her arms. Her own socioeconomic status is not clear; rather, Myers offers a parable of “natural” generosity in humans before social inculcation. At left is a figure resembling a statue of St. Francis, or simply an adult standing in a field.

About the Artist: Born in Petersburg, VA, and traveling to New York City at age eighteen, Myers knew poverty at first hand. He took art classes when he was able at the Art Students League and Cooper Union, but was largely self-taught and perhaps motivated more by a desire to render the city honestly—an aesthetic that had much in common with the so-called “Ashcan School” of American realism of the early twentieth century. But Myers’ own familiarity with the working class, wrote Harry Wickey, meant that his subject matter “was approached from the standpoint neither of the artist, tourist, or one who was out to expose the conditions under which these people lived. He sought out the life these quarters had to offer and it transformed itself into a thing of beauty as it passed through him” (Jerome Myers Memorial Exhibition 3). Widespread fame eluded Myers during his lifetime, but his paintings are held by dozens of museums, among them: 9 works at Smithsonian American Art Museum; 11 works at Metropolitan Museum of Art; 20 works at Brooklyn Museum; 1 work at Detroit Institute of Arts; 1 work at the Corcoran Collection; 13 works at The Athenaeum. 4 more images at FAP.


Myers, Jerome, 1867-1940







Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Gouache painting

Physical Dimensions

14.5 x 20 in.