Ruth Cameron


Mary Lewis Ayer (1878–1957)


about 1910


Oil on canvas


30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm)


Little is known about the Illinois-born artist Mary Lewis Ayer, except that she studied and worked in Boston. In emulation of the style of her teacher, Edmund Tarbell (1862–1938), Ayer painted this portrait with vigorous, fluid brushstrokes in fresh and bright tones. The sitter, Ruth E. Cameron, strikes a fairly conventional pose and wears a genteel dress with a ubiquitous pink bow. She is large on the canvas and, with her intense gaze, directly confronts the viewer. There is something adult-like in her attitude that defies her chronological age (about nine years old), as if to suggest, in miniature, the woman that she will become.

Credit Line

Gift of the estate of Ruth Cameron, 1992

Object Number