Museum Guard BY MABEL DWIGHT
MABEL DWIGHT, who was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1876, studied art in
San Francisco when she was young, but did not work at it seriously until she was middle-aged.
In 1927 she made her first lithograph. Since then she has exhibited regularly and with great success.
Her work is widely represented both here and abroad. She confines her efforts to water-color painting and lithography.
Mabel Dwight’s story of Museum Guard is so interesting that it must be quoted in toto:
“While working in the Metropolitan Museum, I used to talk with the guards.
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They told me how tired they became from the long hours of standing.
No stools are provided for them as in European galleries.
The authorities say the guards would go to sleep if they could sit down.
The job seems to have a paralyzing effect on the men, and some of them crack under it.
“A woman copyist in one of the period-furniture rooms once scolded a guard for his
indifference to the rare opportunities for studying the history of furniture.
‘Do you know the difference in the legs of a Louis XV chair and a Louis XVI chair?’ she asked.
‘Well, mam,’ he replied, ‘I’m more interested in the trouble in my own legs
-I don’t care about Louis’ legs.’ I made the sketch for this lithograph in the Venetian Room.
The vast, ornate bed with its silly legs and the great yawning armchairs back of a
man nearly dead with weariness and exhaustion struck me as ironical and absurd.
I wanted to portray this idea.”