Claire Nivola: The Silent Witness

Claire Nivola

Detail from The Silent Witness, 2005
watercolor and gouache on paper
Courtesy of the Artist

February 2 - March 27, 2011


About the Exhibit

The Danforth Museum of Art is pleased to present an exhibition of watercolors by children’s illustrator Claire A. Nivol from The Silent Witness: A True Story of the Civil War written by Robin Freidman.

This true story depicts the last days of the Civil War as it unfolds through the eyes of a little girl named Lula and her beloved rag doll. In 1861, Lula McLean and her family move from their home in Manassas, Virginia to avoid the violence of the Civil War. However, war followed them to Appomattox Court House and in 1865 General Robert E. Lee surrenders his army to General Grant in the McLean parlor.

Lula's doll, an item connected to this historic event, is taken by Union officers and kept it in a glass box as a “war trophy” for many years. Several generations later, Lula’s doll was returned to Appomattox Court House to its rightful place and is on display at the National Historic Park.

This story is lovingly brought to life with watercolors by Claire Nivola."Writing for children is a serious business." Says Nivola, "Even if the result is to delight one’s small readers, the words and images are destined to become a vivid and lasting part of a child’s live experience.”

Learn more about the story and see the original doll here www.nps.gov/apco/kids-rag-doll.htm

About the Artist

Claire Nivola grew up on Long Island, New York.  Her passion for reading was developed at a very young age.  Coming from a family of artists, art and creativity was a large part of her youth. She attended Radcliffe College, a women's liberal arts college in Cambridge, MA, majoring in history and literature.  After graduating she illustrated her first picture book, The Disobedient Eels and Other Italian Tales by Maria Cimino, The Messy Rabbit, written by her mother Ruth Nivola, and Save the Earth by Betty Miles. Since then, she has illustrated, as well as authored, a number of other picture books to critical acclaim, including Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, which won the 2009 Jane Addams Children's Book Award and was a 2009 Africana Book Awards Honor Book for Young Children. Planting the Trees of Kenya  also received the 2010 Spirit of PaperTigers seal.

 “Having spent many years reading, often more than once, the books I loved as a child to my own children, and discovering new ones, my appreciation for the best of children’s literature has only grown. Writing for children is a serious business. Even if the result is to delight one’s small readers, the words and images are destined to become a vivid and lasting part of a child’s life experience.” 

Claire A. Nivola lives in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.


Danforth Art logo

123 Union Avenue
Framingham, MA 01702
T: 508 620 0050
F: 508 820 0258

General information
Exhibitions & Collection
Museum Programs
Art Classes

Support Danforth Art
Sign up for eNews


Supported in part by:

Masschusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

Masschusetts Cultural Council

Copyright © 2005-2016 Danforth Art. All rights reserved.     |     Privacy      |     eNews      |     Danforth Art on Facebook    Danforth on Twitter    Danforth Art on Youtube

Related Link