Lot 108
  • 108

Jessie Willcox Smith 1863 - 1935

100,000 - 150,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jessie Willcox Smith
  • Dream Blocks
  • mixed media on board
  • 28 by 19 3/4 in.
  • (71.1 by 50.2 cm)
  • Painted in 1908.


Duffield and Co.
Private Collection
American Illustrator's Gallery, New York
Private Collection


Aileen C. Higgins, Dream Blocks, New York, 1908, illustrated in color as frontispiece
Michael S. Schnessel, Jessie Willcox Smith, Toronto, Canada, 1977, pp. 45, 94
Edward D. Nudelman, Jessie Willcox Smith: A Bibliography, Gretna, Louisiana, 1989, A. 26, illustrated in color p. 50
Edward D. Nudelman, Jessie Willcox Smith: American Illustrator, Gretna, Louisiana, 1990, pp. 34, 48
Alice A. Carter, The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love, New York, 2000, p. 143

Catalogue Note

This work is the first of fourteen illustrations for Aileen C. Higgins' Dream Blocks published by Duffield & Co. in 1908.

Crafted especially for the frontispiece of the children's poetry book of the same name, Dream Blocks, juxtaposes elegant design and clean rendering with effective handling of paint. The window itself serves as a natural frame, from which the child protrudes and inside the frame, the wider night is neatly contained. We know where our allegiance lies in this story, and we are getting a good look at our hero: a fresh-faced, contemplative young boy just before bedtime, basking in moonlight. Everything we need to know about the contents of the book is artfully captured in this single image. In fact, Willcox felt so strongly about the design that she revisited the pose of the child on the same window ledge, redcorated with the additions of a hanging Red Cross, a Christmas wreath and curtains, for her famous World War I poster from 1918, Have You a Red Cross Service Flag?