Henry P. McIlhenny (1)

Coming to Philadelphia makes me think about a trip here in December 1976. Henry McIlhenny had asked me to come and see his house in Rittenhouse Square (he was a member of the visiting committee at Harvard and had pulled me out of the student line-up). We were greeted not by him, but by his butler who showed us (I think) into the dining room where Degas’s Rape hung, one of the more baffling, complex and sinister of Degas’s paintings, described by Degas as ‘my genre picture’. McIlhenny had been a pupil of Paul Sachs at Harvard and had begun collecting as a student. He served as a curator of the Philadelphia Museum on a salary of $1 a year. I was pleased to have a chance to see the Rape again (but the reflections make it nearly impossible to photograph):-

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4 thoughts on “Henry P. McIlhenny (1)

  1. edward chaney says:

    Nice blowup of the sewing kit, Degas already showing why Sickert so admired him; it was Degas himself who described it as ‘a genre picture’ but presumably depicts a prostitute and client (or pimp), the Dusseldorf Museum’s new director, Felix Kramer, having offered the best explanation in the Burlington Mag a decade ago…

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