Label Text: Rosy cheeks and a festive pink dress emphasize the blush of youth. Ward’s choice to use more animated strokes than in the refined Lady in Black reinforces the innocence of this fresh-faced girl with an open, trusting smile.
Since 1944, the subject of this portrait has been known only as a “Girl in Pink Dress.” Recently, Dana Ward located an online copy of the 113th PAFA Annual Exhibition catalogue in which a photograph confirms that this work was exhibited as Miss Molly Little in 1918.
Probably 17 years old when this was painted, Mary (“Molly”) Little was the daughter of a Philadelphia lawyer. The local newspaper’s gossip column described Molly and other debutantes “coming out” in society in 1919 as “the true types of old fashioned sweetness and girlishness.” At age 22, Molly eloped with her fiancé, Mr. Wright Griffin, a University of Pennsylvania business student and son of a banker from Buffalo, New York.