The Portrait of an Armenian Girl at the Wilson House
Armen E. Khachikyan
The “Wilson House” in Washington DC is the memorial museum of USA 28th President Woodrow Wilson (1913 –1921). The museum is situated on the “S” street, in a diplomatic neighborhood, not far from the National Cathedral, where Woodrow Wilson was later buried. In this house Woodrow Wilson spent his last three years, 1921-1924. He had bought this house before living his office and retired here with his second wife, Edith (Bolling) Wilson.
It is a 4-storey building of eclectic style, with a beautiful large garden. Mrs. Wilson tried to furnish the house with every comfort for her husband. Here was Wilson°s personal library with a movie projector, an aristocratically styled dining room and a luminescent solarium where the ex-president liked to rest. Even 50 years after Woodrow Wilson°s death, Mrs. Wilson tried to keep everything as it was while he was alive. In 1968 she transmitted the house to the National Trust as a museum.
Amongst many historical artifacts and portraits at the Wilson House there is a beautiful portrait of an Armenian girl, which is hanged on the stair-well wall to the second floor. The painting is named §L° Esperance¦ – §Hope¦. its author is a famous Armenian – American painter Hovsep T. Pushman (1877-1966), whose other colourful paintings can now be found in Metropolitan, Milwaukee, Rockford museums in USA, in different galleries and private collections in France.
The portrait is a graphic evidence of American-Armenian correlations which already have a history of over a century. Besides, the painting has an intriguing history of itself. It is very interesting in what circumstances and why this portrait of an Armenian girl was presented to President Wilson. Here is a brief glance at the course of these events.