"Cuéllar used all three local Dickinson institutions to research his Emily
Dickinson oil portrait. In addition to using local resources, Cuéllar traveled
to museums and consulted historians of the nineteenth century to research every
aspect of the elements captured by the photograph: the hair, skin, dress,
jewelry, and even the original photographer’s props, such as the tablecloth and
waxed orange blossom flowers.
Cuéllar’s goal with his portrait was to
render the poet in her true colors: "Most people have a color-blind image of
Emily Dickinson since there was only one daguerreotype that portrays the poet in
varying shades of gray. For example, I did not know that she was a redhead." He
made the painting "as if I were a portrait artist living in the 1840s." He was
intrigued by her age in the daguerreotype, a teenager, and wanted to show "not
only who she was, but also who she was becoming."
New Portrait of Emily Dickinson