The Lei Maker, Theodore Wores


Theodore Wores (American, 1859–1939) 

The Lei Maker, 1901 

Oil on canvas 

Gift of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson, 1986 (5490.1) 

San Francisco painter Theodore Wores ,is known for portraits, genre scenessubjects, and landscapes drawn frominspired by his native city's Chinatown during his travels in Japan. He lived in Honolulu during 1901 and 1902. Like other visiting artists, he was attracted to the beauty of Hawai‘i's people and landscapes and rendered numerous Hawai'i subjects.. The Lei Maker undoubtedly is Wores’s best- known Hawai‘i picture,. Wores' The Lei Maker depicts a young woman wearing in a bright orange-red holokū with, a leihaku (head lei) of matching colorful blossoms and green maile leaves on her head, and a maile lei around her neck. She sits on a woven mat. and meditatively, meets our gaze, as she strings a third lei with the delicate blossoms of the orange ‘ilima that lie scattered at her side. Engaging, appealing, and sweetly poignant, and completely romanticized, this painting has come to embody the popular perception of "Old Hawai‘i." 
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