Motherhood at the Amon Carter

A celebration of moms being moms.

Maternal Caress (1890/1891) by Mary CassattAmon Carter Museum of American Art

The subject of motherhood runs the course of art history, from the Madonna and child paintings of the Renaissance . . .

Fisherman's Family (1916) by Bror Julius Olsson NordfeldtAmon Carter Museum of American Art

. . . to the great images of motherhood in the Amon Carter's collection.

Portrait of Mother and Five Children (ca. 1825-1850) by UnknownAmon Carter Museum of American Art

A mother sitting in a swing with her baby. A nester family that lived in a line camp of the Three Block Ranch near Rosaka Lake, New Mexico. Three Block Ranch, New Mexico. (1908/1909) by Erwin E. SmithAmon Carter Museum of American Art

Bo-Peep (1872) by Eastman JohnsonAmon Carter Museum of American Art

Though this may look like a child attacking its mother, in the nineteenth century “bo-peep” referred to the non-sinister game of peek-a-boo!

In the Meadow (1954) by Nell DorrAmon Carter Museum of American Art

Motherhood and Nell Dorr

Photographs from the Artist's Archives at the Amon Carter

The Amon Carter holds the archives of photographer Nell Dorr (1893–1988), which includes approximately 1,750 photographs and 5,200 negatives. The collection presents a cross section of Dorr’s photographic work.

During World War II, Dorr's husband and her daughters' husbands all went to war. She retreated to the countryside with her daughters and grandchildren.

Happiness (1942) by Nell DorrAmon Carter Museum of American Art

She bought an old house in New Hampshire that lacked the conveniences of running water and electricity.

Nursing Mother (1940, printed later) by Nell DorrAmon Carter Museum of American Art

She constructed a deliberately pre-modern lifestyle for her family, focusing on life's simple pleasures. She documented their lives with her camera, emphasizing moments of beauty and harmony.

Mother and Child (1941/1945) by Nell DorrAmon Carter Museum of American Art

The death of her daughter Elizabeth in 1954 prompted Dorr to publish the photographs in what would become her most acclaimed book of the six she produced, *Mother and Child."

Mother and Child (1940, printed later) by Nell DorrAmon Carter Museum of American Art

Unlike her contemporaries—whose documentary photographs captured the horrors of war, social injustice, and general strife—Dorr focused on the painterly aspects of rural life, a life she had constructed. 

Dorr’s body of work about motherhood is a nostalgic celebration of the simplicities of life and a reminder of the beauty found in the acts of everyday living in the face of very difficult moments in her life.

Credits: Story

Produced by Maggie Adler, Assistant Curator and Peggy Sell, Interpretation Manager at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art

All artworks from the collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.

www.cartermuseum.org

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Women in Culture
From innovative artists and pioneering scientists, to the women who campaigned for universal suffrage and social equality
View theme
Google apps