Natural Selection: An Evangelist, a Babysitter, and the Family they Loved

Art Unbound
Art Unbound
Natural Selection: An Evangelist, a Babysitter, and the Family they Loved

In 1881, William-Adolphe Bouguereau painted Nature’s Fan (also known as Girl with Child) — a large oil painting depicting a young woman and a small child playing in the clearing of a wooded area. It currently hangs in the European Art galleries of the Portland Art Museum on a long-term loan from Helen and Jerome (Jerry) Stern. This episode of the Portland Art Museum Podcast is about this painting’s journey from Bouguereau’s studio to the walls of the Museum, focusing specifically on the last 50 years. What started as a family’s search for a babysitter resulted in the chance meeting that would lead Helen and Jerry to inherit this painting and inspire a lifetime and legacy of collecting art.

This episode is narrated by Jerry and Helen’s grandson, Jonathan Singer. Jonathan’s sister Anna’s artwork can be found at the Portland Art Museum’s Rental Sales Gallery.

Featured in this episode:
Jonathan Singer, Partner at Bard Singer, PC
Helen Stern, philanthropist

Mentioned in this Episode:
Jerome “Jerry” Stern
Nature’s Fan (Girl with Child)
Reed College
Portland Center Stage
Oregon Bus Project
Oregon Jewish Community Foundation
Kathryn Kuhlman
Excerpt from Daughter of Destiny
Dale Chihuly
Lino Tagliapietra
Michele Russo
Gregory Grenon
Sherrie Wolf
Sherrie Wolf’s take on Bouguereau
The Hoxton Hotel
In the Heights

Produced by Jon Richardson
Intro/Outro music by Jon Richardson
All other music by Mark Orton

Want to submit an idea for a future episode of the podcast? Fill out the form at – if your idea fits within the scope of the Museum’s mission, we can work together to bring it to life.

A transcript of this episode can be found at

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