III

Narratives of African American Art and Identity

Laura Wheeler Waring

Rose of Sharon, n.d.

Oil on canvas

19.25" x 15.25"


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Rose of Sharon

Laura Wheeler Waring is known both for her lifelong dedication as art instructor and department head at Cheyney Training School for Teachers in Pennsylvania and for her artistic accomplishments as a portrait painter and illustrator. During her distinguished career Waring created a number of landscapes and still lifes, such as Rose of Sharon. Painted in the impressionistic style characteristic of the majority of her works, Rose of Sharon is an interesting example of her mastery of academic realism.

The title Rose of Sharon is a biblical phrase quoted from a collection of love poems between a lover and his beloved in the Song of Songs. Although according to religious historian Dr. William Smith, the "Rose of Sharon" is generally believed to be the Sweet-Scented Narcissus, a flower native to Palestine, in Waring's painting the flowers are hibiscus.

Waring's choice to use biblical verse and subjects for her works was undoubtedly influenced by her middle-class, socially conscious upbringing and the strong religious presence of her father, Reverend Robert F. Wheeler, and her maternal grandfather, Reverend Amos Noe Freeman.   T. F.

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