pdf - Schwarz Gallery

schwarzgallery.com

pdf - Schwarz Gallery

SCHWARZ


AMERICAN PAINTINGS

F I N E P A I N T I N G S SCHWARZ F O U N D E D 1 9 3 0

P H I L A D E L P H I A

1806 Chestnut Street Philadelphia PA 19103

Tel 215 563 4887 Fax 215 561 5621 mail@schwarzgallery.com

Art Dealers Association of America; Art and Antique Dealers League of America; CINOA


Philadelphia Collection LXXII

Autumn 2003

Copyright ©2003 The Schwarz Gallery

All rights reserved

Library of Congress Control Number: 2003096059

Editing: David Cassedy

Copyediting: Alison Rooney, Kate Royer Schubert

Design: Matthew North

Photography: Rick Echelmeyer

Color separations and printing: Piccari Press, Warminster, Pennsylvania

Paintings are offered subject to prior sale.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This is the first catalogue my son Robert has worked on from its beginnings since he joined the firm a little more than a

year ago, and I would like to thank him for his participation in every stage of its development, especially the implementation

of deadlines—an important consideration I sometimes lose sight of in my enthusiasm for other aspects of publishing a

catalogue. I also thank David Cassedy, who has not only written many of the entries and organized the catalogue, but has

also worked closely with the seven other scholars who have contributed essays. Their biographies appear at the end of the

catalogue; I thank them here for the impressive quality of their research and writing.

Matthew North is remarkable, not only for his handsome design of the catalogue, but also for the computer skills that went

into nearly every aspect of its production. Christine Poole and Nathan Rutkowski are the Gallery’s newest employees and

two of the most willing we have ever had. They have brought their enthusiasm to varied tasks, including physical

examination of the paintings, coordination of photography, and ownership history research—important steps in a

complicated project like this one. In addition to the gallery’s staff, I thank the following people for their assistance: Lou

Barker, Jeffrey Boys, Jeffrey A. Cohen, Stiles Tuttle Colwill, Jacqueline M. De Groff, Elise Effnann, Mary Louise Fleisher,

Kathleen A. Foster, Susan Glassman, Mary Anne Goley, Lance Humphries, Elizabeth Laurent, Cheryl Leibold, Audrey

Lewis, Michael J. Lewis, Ellen Miles, Elle Shushan, Earle E. Spamer, and Mark Tucker.

Edward Hicks’s Peaceable Kingdom (on the cover of the catalogue)—a rare example that remained in the artist’s family until

now—is the subject of complementary essays by the two leading Hicks scholars, Carolyn Weekley and Scott Nolley. Works

by members of the Peale family continue to be a speciality for which the Gallery is widely recognized, and this catalogue

includes essays by two participants in the Peale Paintings Project at the Maryland Historical Society. Linda Simmons writes

here on Charles Peale Polk’s portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Henry Schroeder and James Peale’s View on the Wissahickon,

which I believe to be the best of his dozen or so known landscapes from this period. Carol Soltis has contributed the most

extensive discussion to date of the American career of Adolph-Ulric Wertmüller, the Swedish immigrant to Philadelphia,

who was an associate of Rembrandt Peale, whose catalogue raisonné is an ongoing project for Dr. Soltis.

Tony Lewis, the foremost expert on Thomas Birch, has written for us before; we are pleased to renew that relationship and

to share his depth of knowledge of what may be the earliest known winter scene by the artist, who was one of the first

Americans to explore a subject that quickly gained popularity with American collectors. Robert Torchia has completed many

projects for us: most notably the monographs The Gilmans (1996), The Smiths: A Family of Philadelphia Artists (1999), and

Xanthus Smith and the Civil War (1999); and essays for our landmark catalogue, 150 Years of Philadelphia Still Life Painting

(1997). We are glad to publish his essays on Thomas Sully and Manuael Joachim de França in this cataogue.

Milo Naeve’s discovery of and essay on John Lewis Krimmel’s The Disaster, a painting published here for the first time, is a

real addition to our knowledge of early Philadelphia painting and the beginnings of American genre. Interestingly, my father

purchased an exceptional Philadelphia armchair (c.1800–1810), many years ago from the same home where two paintings

in this catalogue—the Krimmel and Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of Joseph Pilmore (as well as an important landscape

by Thomas Birch)—were then hanging. We sold that chair to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the rest of the set is in

the White House. The quality of that set of furniture is comparable to that of the famous Ephraim Haines furniture at

Girard College (see my 1980 catalogue of the Stephen Girard Collection). The Krimmel painting offered here is an equally

exciting example of the arts of Philadelphia in the early nineteenth century. New research uncovers more and more

important early Philadelphia material for which connections—to one family or one house—can be documented, giving us

a more comprehensive picture of Philadelphia’s culture. Sharing that evolving picture and offering fine paintings is our

purpose in publishing these catalogues.

—Robert D. Schwarz, Sr.


1

Edward Hicks

(American, 1780–1849)

The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1822–26

Oil on canvas, 21 11 /16 x 27 inches

Provenance: Hung in the artist’s home, Newtown, Pennsylvania; gift to his only

son Isaac Worstall Hicks; his daughter Sarah Worstall Hicks; her grandniece

Eleanore Hicks Lee Swartz; collection of a Hicks descendant

Exhibited: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Williamsburg, Virginia,

The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks (Feb. 7–Sept. 6, 1999); traveled to the Philadelphia

Museum of Art (Oct. 10, 1999–Jan. 2, 2000), the Denver Art Museum (Feb. 12–Apr.

30, 2000), the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum of the Fine Arts Museums of

San Francisco (Sept. 24, 2000–Jan. 7, 2001)

Recorded: Eleanore Price Mather and Dorothy Canning Miller, Edward Hicks:

His Peaceable Kingdoms and Other Paintings (East Brunswick, N.J.: Associated

University Presses, 1983), p. 116; Carolyn J. Weekley, The Kingdoms of Edward

Hicks (Williamsburg, Va.: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in association

with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1999), p. 191, no. 7 (repro. in color, p. 108, pl. 98)

Reference: Scott W. Nolley and Carolyn J. Weekley, “The Nature of Edward

Hicks’s Painting,” The Magazine Antiques, vol. 155, no. 2 (Feb. 1999), pp. 280–89

(repro. in color, p. 286, pl. 9 and 9a)

Edward Hicks, the Quaker minister and painter, was the son of Isaac and Catherine Hicks and the grandson of Gilbert Hicks

of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 1 The Hicks family was wealthy, owned considerable land, and operated several businesses in

the area. Both Gilbert and Isaac held local posts associated with the colonial British government. In 1776, Gilbert was

regarded as a traitor to American concerns and he fled Pennsylvania. Hicks’s family lands were then confiscated and the

artist’s parents lived in reduced circumstances thereafter.

Hicks’s mother died when he was almost two years old. Unable to care for all of his five young children, his father boarded

most of them with Bucks County families. In 1785, Hicks went to live with the Quakers David and Elizabeth Twining on

their farm near Newtown. Ten years later, the youngest Hicks child was apprenticed to the coach makers William and Henry

Tomlinson in nearby Langhorne. It was during his five-year apprenticeship that Edward learned a variety of techniques

associated with ornamental painting, an important branch of the coach and carriage making business.

Edward was not a birthright Quaker, nor was he a Friend when he served his apprenticeship and learned his trade. His immediate

family was Anglican. After the death of his mother, his father sometimes attended the Newtown Presbyterian Church. Neither

of these religious affiliations would have discouraged Hicks’s pursuit of painting as a career, including his eventual easel pictures

of local farms, historical subjects, and pastoral scenes. Some conservative Quakers, including those living in rural Bucks County,

considered such artwork to be frivolous, of no use, and contrary to Quaker codes of plainness and simplicity.

By 1803, however, Hicks had become deeply interested in the Society of Friends, had married Sarah Worstall, a member of

Middletown Monthly Meeting, and had been received into membership at the same meeting. His increasing work for the

Friends became the most important aspect of his life. In 1811, Middletown Monthly Meeting recorded Hicks as a Quaker

minister. Ultimately it was the profound influence of his religious life and his response to criticism that led him to create

the Peaceable Kingdom pictures for which he is so widely known today. Decorative painting of the type he performed in his


shop, especially some of the elaborate signboards, quickly came under the scrutiny of local conservative Quakers. Such work

was considered questionable in its highly decorative aspects and often discouraged by Quakers, but it was considered

particularly inappropriate for a Quaker minister to produce such items. Hicks recognized this conflict but realized that

ornamental painting, the only trade that he knew, made it possible to support his family and the costs of his extended,

traveling ministry. His creation of the first Peaceable Kingdom pictures in about 1816–18 may have been his contrived effort

to allay criticism and provide an image that was consistent with Quaker beliefs.

The earliest of the Kingdom pictures were likely less refined and organized than the more sophisticated versions that

followed. Only one example dating before 1820 is known: an oil on canvas picture owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art.

About 1822, or perhaps a year or so before, Hicks began to develop the well-known “border” Kingdoms. These versions,

with the exception of one, have lettered (and sometimes rhyming) verses in borders surrounding the Kingdom view. The

lettered messages convey the Biblical prophecy of Isaiah that inspired the pictures. Several of the border Kingdoms survive,

and none are identical. The example illustrated here is especially interesting because of its history of descent in the Hicks

family. It originally hung in Hicks’s house in Newtown and he eventually gave it to his only son, Isaac Worstall Hicks.

The borders of the picture also survive and were likely removed by an unidentified member of the family. Conservation

treatment of the picture in 1998 revealed new and important information about Hicks’s techniques and materials, as related

by Scott Nolley in his accompanying article. For the art historian some of the most interesting aspects include the artist’s

tendency to overlap elements within the composition, a layering process that is not often observed in pictures by studiotrained

painters. The kid or goat was altered in an effort to improve the foreshortening of the left side of the animal as it

recedes into space. Such corrective passages, also seen in Hicks’s other pictures, document his continuous attempts to

improve his work. Some aspects of his paintings are often built up in a series of glazes or a number of layers of paint. Drop

shadows usually comprised of dark-colored expanses of paint with clearly defined edges were used here to help define the

positions of elements in space. The dark areas below the kid’s hooves and rump and below the large leopard’s paws at lower

right are classic examples of drop shadows used by Hicks. Such techniques are commonly associated with signboard

painting, one aspect of his shop work. The Hicks family Kingdom is also a good example of his occasional attempt to imitate

more academic methods for rendering fabrics and other materials, as seen in the diaphanous quality of the child’s dress.

The composition of this particular Kingdom scene is similar to several others from the same period. A limited number of

animals, one child, and the small distant view of the Penn’s Treaty group in the middle ground at left beside the river typify

the general arrangement of these paintings. Many of the elements were borrowed from known print sources, a practice that

Hicks used during much of his career. The inclusion of a blasted tree trunk with one or more branches of dying brown leaves

is a known artistic convention for the period, but Hicks seems to have shaped and painted it many different ways to suit his

particular vision for each picture.

Hicks would eventually develop other formats for the Kingdoms as he aged and as he used them to convey particular

meanings about the welfare of the American Society of Friends. He never tired of altering the scene and of combining and

recombining animals in various ways to illustrate certain ideas. At the time of his death in 1849 he was working on a Peaceable

Kingdom picture for his daughter. One account indicates that Hicks was working on the picture the day before he died.

Note

—Carolyn J. Weekley

1. Information in this entry was taken from Carolyn J. Weekley, The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks (Williamsburg, Va.: The Colonial Williamsburg

Foundation, in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1999).


The Creation of a Peaceable Kingdom

Of the Peaceable Kingdom paintings by Hicks, the pictures that comprise the border Kingdom series are clearly those in

which Hicks was teaching himself how to paint easel works. As a sign painter he would have learned how to combine visual

elements and utilize the techniques of tracing and transfer of image material to compose an integrated image that would

convey a single idea. Using these familiar techniques Hicks composed his Kingdom tableaux using images from selected print

sources and sketches taken from life. Examination of a number of these early border Kingdom works using x-radiography and

infrared reflectography illustrated just how much Hicks relied on these techniques to assemble his imagery. Extensive

underdrawing can be seen of not only the animals and figures but also landscape and foreground elements. A number of these

formative paintings, when radiographed, indicate that Hicks painted the surrounding landscapes intuitively. A complete sky,

then the mountainous landscape, and the middle ground and foreground imagery would have been meticulously executed,

layer upon layer, to create the overall landscape perspective. Additional underdrawing, appearing as detailed and completed

sketches, becomes visible beneath selected animals. In many cases these animals have been directly associated with

contemporary print sources and, as one might expect, often appear in reverse orientation from the print source image, an

artifact of the tracing and transfer processes he used. With this in mind, one can often see these “lifted” images as animals

that seem to float, curiously, amidst the more practiced aspects of his composition.

It is interesting to note that Hicks, a devoted and charismatic Quaker minister, often referred to his love of easel painting

as an indulgent character flaw. That he was capable of a more academic style of painting and rarely pursued it until the end

of his life might largely be attributed to the constraints of the Quaker religion to which he was quite devoted, a religion that

largely eschewed decorative painting and ornamentation for favor of plainness and simplicity of dress. It is not an

uncommon assertion that the inclusion of a Biblical text or proverb as a text border was yet another way of avoiding similar

criticism while also combining his love of painting with his ministry.

As Hicks gained confidence with his subject, his unique style emerged. The text borders disappeared and in time gave way

to larger image areas. The effort to execute realistic, atmospheric perspective seems to relax, giving way to a flatter picture

plane. The landscape begins to tilt toward the viewer and the animals and figures appear as if cut from paper, arranged one

atop another throughout the landscape. It is here that we become aware of a certain resurgence of his training and

background as a sign painter where softer, sculptural three-dimensional modeling gives way to bold, calligraphic brushwork

and a certain “posterization” of form. Another example of the return to sign painting technique can be seen in the use of

drop shadowing. These broad-stroke, characteristic shadows that surround and give emphasis to lettering come to use in the

outline and shadowing of animals and figures.

This painting stands as an extraordinary example in Hicks’s evolution of the Peaceable Kingdom from both an aesthetic and

academic point of view. It is actually an example of a late border Kingdom. The text border has been removed and the work

installed on a new support in its present dimension, apparently during the artist’s lifetime. That the text border remains

extant, reading: “A little child was leading them in love,/And not one savage beast was seen to frown,/His grim carniv’rous

nature there did cease,/When the great PENN his famous treaty made,” resonates as metaphor for the pivotal place this work

occupies in the genre. The image has been achieved with a meticulously executed cloud-filled sky, largely obscured by foliage

and landscape as in the early Kingdom works. Now, though, the picture plane begins to tilt toward the viewer. Strong though

somewhat tentative drop shadows begin to appear, defining figures, and the animals themselves appear flatter and more

graphic, in composition. The atmosphere of the sky is treated less academically, with billowing clouds giving way to the

characteristic blue-to-pink sky that is often associated with the later Kingdom pictures, now appearing on the horizon. His


increasing comfort with his subject is best illustrated by a markedly diminished use of underdrawing. The small, kneeling

lamb in the foreground—a direct lift from the Robert Westall engraving The Peaceable Kingdom of the Branch that inspired

the image—is the only figure in the painting executed first in Hicks’s usual fastidious underdrawing.

The binder-rich paints that would characterize the durable media used by a sign painter are all in evidence here. The remarkable

condition of the paint surface can largely be attributed to Hicks’s knowledge of paint formulation, as well as the painting’s

escape from inexpert and overzealous restoration. Brushwork is confident and spontaneous, and his attention to minute detail,

not always surviving in many of his other works, can be seen here in, for example, the fringe of the figure’s dress, rendered by

drawing a point through the wet paint, or the meticulously layered glazes depicting the lion’s mane or water’s surface.

This is not a rote work for Hicks, however. A number of the artist’s changes are visible through subsequent paint layers,

particularly his struggle with rendering the figure of the goat. Challenged by the indirect, foreshortened perspective of this

particular figure, he made several attempts to perfect the contour of the form. Hicks also continued to experiment with new

pigments and colors. The foreground applications of a very granular, cool, emerald-green verdigris paint appear outside his

otherwise consistent use of a fluid, almost inky paint medium. It would have been a pigment largely unsuitable for use in

signs and other work intended for exposure to the elements, but was attractive enough to Hicks, despite its less-than-ideal

consistency, to continue its use in his easel painting throughout his career. The unbound, sugary surface of this particular

paint color appears in larger, later works, such as his landscapes depicting the Cornell and Leedom farms.

When the traveling exhibition of Hicks’s paintings The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks was initially installed in the galleries of

Colonial Williamsburg’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum (then the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center),

Hicks’s self-taught progression as an easel painter became clear. The unprecedented opportunity to view, side-by-side, works

that illustrate this Biblical subject allowed a broad view of how the artist used his training as a sign and carriage painter to

gain aptitude in fine-art painting techniques. The pivotal work shown here, a Peaceable Kingdom that has been in the Hicks

family since it was painted, remains in splendid condition and as one of the best examples of his evolving technique.

—Scott W. Nolley


2

Du Vivier

(French, active United States 1796–1807/1808)

A Mid-Atlantic Town House, c. 1796–1808

Oil on canvas, 27 1 /4 x 37 inches

Signed at lower right: “Du Vivier fecit”

According to George C. Groce and David H. Wallace in The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America,

1564–1860, Duvivier and Son taught drawing in Philadelphia, 1796–97. 1 The authors go on to state that the elder artist

claimed that he had been a member of the Royal Academy in Paris and that at least one of the two artists was still in

Philadelphia in 1798. 2

Listings for artists named Du Vivier have not been found in Philadelphia directories. Lewis (probably Louis) Duvivier,

M.D., is listed in 1800 at 381 South Front Street; the name may be merely a coincidence. The Historical Society of

Pennsylvania has a manuscript accession record (1886) for a miniature of a Dr. Duvivier, painted in Paris circa 1795,

according to the donor. 3 The donor (or her agent) also related her belief that Dr. Duvivier had assisted Stephen Girard in

aiding yellow fever victims in Philadelphia. The poplars in this painting are reminiscent of the ones in the 1807 depiction

by John James Barralet (1747–1815) of the John Dunlap house (watercolor and gouache on canvas, 17 1 /2 x 26 1 /2 inches;

Girard College, Philadelphia) at Twelfth and Market streets, built in 1789, leased to the French legation in the 1790s, and

sold to Stephen Girard in 1807. 4 A suggested link between the Du Viviers and the artist and museum proprietor Pierre

Eugène Du Simitière (c. 1736–1784) is almost certainly a red herring, probably the result of someone misreading the name

Du Vivier: Du Simitière died before the Du Viviers are known to have been in Philadelphia.

Alfred Coxe Prime transcribed three Philadelphia newspaper advertisements placed by the Du Viviers. The earliest appeared

in the Aurora on May 25, 1796, and gave their address as 112 Race Street. 5 A more informative advertisement appeared in

the Pennsylvania Packet on May 23, 1797:

Academy of Drawing and Painting. Duvivier and Son, having moved their academy from North Second

street, to No. 12 Strawberry street [between Second and Third streets, near Market], where they continue

teaching drawing, which they execute in the presence of their pupils, and consequently excludes prints or

any foreign aid and the advantages arising from this mode, must be self evident to any reflecting mind.

Ladies are taught Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from eleven until 1 o’clock in the morning [sic], and

ladies and gentlemen on the afternoon of each day (Saturday excepted) from 3 to 5 o’clock. They have

provided themselves with separate airy apartments, where each sex are attended separate. Mr. Duvivier being

possessed of a secret and curious mode of painting on silk, satins, &c, the colours of which will never fade,

either by time or repeated washings, but will continue its brilliancy and beauty, which renders it very

desirable for tire [sic] screens, chair bottoms, curtains, trimmings, &c. They also furnish a variety of patterns

for young ladies working the above, and which may be executed with as much elegance and considerable less

trouble and expense [sic] than embroidery. Also a new invented and beautiful tapestry, composed by Mr.

Duvivier, which from its variety, beauty and cheapness, is perhaps superior to any ever offered the American

Public. They would occasionally give lessons in private families. Specimens of their abilities, consisting of

views, landscapes, sea ports, historical pieces, fruit, &c are to be seen and sold at their academy. 6

Another advertisement in the Pennsylvania Packet on October 31, 1797, added that evening hours, from 7 to 9 o’clock,

could be arranged, and that the Du Viviers’ instruction was available “at reasonable terms of two dollars per month.” 7


The Smithsonian American Art Museum Inventory of American Paintings lists two undated watercolor portraits by Duvivier

and Son: 8 a 1787 pastel portrait ascribed to Duvivier and/or Du Simitière; and a circa 1800 watercolor portrait, the

signature on which has been transcribed as J. F. Duvuvier. 9

Could this painting be one of the “specimens of the [Du Viviers’] abilities, consisting of views [and] landscapes” that they

displayed in their academy? The picturesque landscape and genre elements at the right demonstrate their abilities in this

type of decorative painting, but this painting was probably intended to be a house portrait. The architectural historian

Jeffrey A. Cohen has observed that “the back buildings of the five-bay, center-hall house seem carefully observed, so this may

well be true to the place rather than some generic view.” 10 Although there is considerable evidence suggesting that this

painting is a Philadelphia view, Cohen has also noted that “from the visual evidence only, it could easily have been some

other mid-Atlantic city or even a town, which might explain the unusual lack of a second side of the street, the extraordinary

width of the road, and the seemingly ungridded intersection at the right.” 11 In fact, it is now known that in 1798, the Du

Viviers moved to Baltimore, where they advertised their services in the Federal Gazette on November 21, under the heading

of “Drawing Academy. F. DUVIVIER & SON From Philadelphia, . . . at No. 36 North Gay-street.” 12 They opened a

museum August 13, 1799, and are thought to have been in Baltimore as late as 1808. 13

Could this painting have been commissioned by the owner of the five-bay brick house? If the artist painted this view on

speculation, why did he choose to feature this house? The wealth or notoriety of the house’s owner or occupants could have

made the painting attractive to prospective buyers. Cohen estimates that “there may have been a few dozen brick, five-bay,

center-hall houses like this one in 1790s Philadelphia” 14 and suggests a construction date between the 1750s and 1770s. 15

Cohen also states that “judging just by population, Baltimore may have had nearly half as many, and there may have been

one or two in each of several other towns in the region.” 16

A personal association may have prompted Du Vivier to feature this particular house, one that he saw every day, or perhaps

the house where he lived or had his school. If he painted the house for such personal reasons, investigation of his known

Philadelphia and Baltimore addresses may eventually lead to the house’s identification.

Notes

1. George C. Groce and David H. Wallace, The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564–1860 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale

University Press, 1957), p. 200. 2. Groce and Wallace, Dictionary of Artists in America, p. 200. E. Bénézit, Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des

pientres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs (Paris: Librairie Grund, 1976), vol. 4, pp. 77–78, lists twenty-seven French and Belgian artists named

Duvivier. Travel in the United States is not mentioned for any of them. 3. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Society Misc. Coll.,

Annie L. Litch. 4. See Robert D. Schwarz, The Stephen Girard Collection: A Selective Catalogue (Philadelphia: Girard College, 1980), no. 1. Du

Vivier’s name does not appear in the name index to the Stephen Girard papers at Girard College. 5. Alfred Coxe Prime, The Arts and Crafts in

Philadelphia, Maryland, and South Carolina (1786–1800), series 2, Gleanings from Newspapers (New York: The Walpole Society, 1933), p. 47.

6. Prime, The Arts and Crafts in Philadelphia, p. 47. 7. Ibid., p. 48. 8. The inclusion of these portraits in the exhibition catalogue Virginia Miniatures

(Richmond: Virginia Museum, 1941) suggests that the Du Viviers may have worked in Virginia. 9. Repro. in Stiles Tuttle Colwill, “A Chronicle of

Artists in Joshua Johnson’s Baltimore,” in Joshua Johnson: Freeman and Early American Portrait Painter by Carolyn J. Weekley et al. (Baltimore:

Maryland Historical Society, 1987), as fig. 12. Unknown Woman by J. F. Duvivier, c. 1800, Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore. The Du Vivier’s

advertisement in the Nov. 21, 1798, Federal Gazette mentions “profile and other likenesses, at all prices.” See n. 12 below. 10. Jeffrey A. Cohen,

letter to David Cassedy, April 18, 2003. 11. Jeffrey A. Cohen, letter to David Cassedy, May 27, 2003. 12. Federal Gazette, Nov. 21, 1798, p. 2,

col. 3, repro. in Colwill, “A Chronicle,” p. 79, n. 25. 13. Colwill, “A Chronicle,” p. 79. The elder Du Vivier is identified here as J. F. Duvivier.

14. Cohen, letter, April 18, 2003. On May 27, Cohen added: “A five-bay house would be unlikely to be less than 25-foot frontage. Only 10 of the

186 properties surveyed for [the High Street] ward had frontage of 25 feet or more. This is probably one of the wealthier of the half-dozen or so city

wards, the boundaries of which are given in the old printed city ‘Ward Genealogy.’” Cohen cited the online database of the High Street Ward from

the 1798 U.S. direct tax, compiled by Bernard Herman of the University of Delaware’s Center for Historic Architecture and Design and posted (for

opening using Microsoft Excel) at http://www.math.udel.edu/~rstevens/datasets.html. 15. Cohen, letter, April 18, 2003. 16. Jeffrey A. Cohen,

letter to David Cassedy, July 7, 2003.


3

Charles Willson Peale

(American, 1741–1827)

The Reverend Joseph Pilmore (1739–1825), 1787

Oil on canvas, 23 x 18 3 /4 inches

Provenance: Joseph Pilmore; his second wife (who was the widow of Bishop

William White); the Poulson family (relatives of the Whites); Mrs. Susan Poulson;

Dr. Wilson Poulson, Linwood (on the Delaware River near Chester, Pennsylvania);

Gurney Poulson Sloan, Dunedin, Florida; Schwarz Gallery by 1987; Pennsylvania

private collection until 2003

Exhibited: Kennedy Galleries, New York, American Masters, 18th and 19th

Centuries (Mar. 14–Apr. 7, 1973), repro. in cat., pl. 5

References: Charles Coleman Sellers, “Charles Willson Peale with Patron and

Populace: A Supplement to Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale,” in

Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 59, pt. 3 (Philadelphia:

American Philosophical Society, May 1969), p. 76 (repro. p. 126); Charles Coleman

Sellers, “Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale,” in Transactions of the

American Philosophical Society, vol. 42, pt. 1 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical

Society, 1952), no. 169 (as unlocated); Robert Devlin Schwarz, A Gallery Collects

Peales, Philadelphia Collection XXXV (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 1987), no. 7

(repro. in color); Wendy J. Shadwell, “The Portrait Prints of Charles Willson Peale,”

in Eighteenth-Century Prints in Colonial America, ed. Joan D. Dolmetsch

(Williamsburg, Va.: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1979), pp. 134–40

Charles Willson Peale has been the subject of numerous books, articles, and exhibitions. His life and his multiple careers as

a painter, a patriot, a museum founder, an inventor, a farmer, and a naturalist have been detailed by many scholars including

Charles Coleman Sellers, Edgar P. Richardson, Brooke Hindle, and Lillian B. Miller.

Charles Willson Peale was born in Maryland in 1741 and apprenticed to a saddler by 1754. After his release from this

apprenticeship, he set up a shop in Annapolis. In 1762 he married Rachel Brewer, the first of his three wives. At about this time

he developed an interest in painting and studied for a short time with John Hesselius in Maryland and then in Boston with

John Singleton Copley (1738–1815). In 1766, eleven prominent Marylanders subscribed to a fund that permitted Peale to

study with Benjamin West in London, where he remained for a little less than three years. He returned to Maryland in 1769

and painted there, in Philadelphia, and in Virginia. He first painted George Washington in 1772.

In 1776 Peale settled in Philadelphia, where he became active in politics and enrolled in the city militia. During the

Revolutionary War he served in the Continental Army, seeing action at Princeton and arduous winter encampment at Valley

Forge. After the war he continued to paint portraits of Washington and other heroes of the Revolution. By 1782 he had

opened a portrait gallery in his Philadelphia studio, and by 1786 he had founded his Philadelphia Museum for the display


of natural history specimens, the first such museum in the United States. In 1790, Rachel Peale died, and the following year

Charles Willson married Elizabeth De Peyster. In 1794 Peale moved his museum to Philosophical Hall and participated in

the founding of the short-lived Columbianum or American Academy of the Fine Arts. The management of his museum

became his principal occupation, and although Peale publicly announced his retirement from painting, he still found time

to paint such major works as The Exhumation of the Mastodon (Peale Museum, Baltimore), to experiment with such

inventions as the polygraph, to mount the first paleontological dig in the United States, and to give artistic training to his

children and his nieces and nephews, many of whom became artists. His second wife died in 1804 and the next year he

married Hannah Moore.

Peale “retired” from his museum in 1810, gave it over to his son Rubens to manage, and moved to Belfield Farm near

Philadelphia. The farm occupied his interest until after the death of his wife Hannah in 1821. He then returned to

Philadelphia and resumed the management of his museum. In 1818 he resumed painting portraits and continued until his

death in 1827 at the age of eighty-six. Peale was buried at St. Peter’s churchyard in Philadelphia. In Charles Willson Peale

and His World, Edgar Richardson succinctly appraised the man: “He was an artist of a strong, simple, severe neoclassic style;

a pioneer in American natural history and in the development of the public museum; and a man of great skill, ingenuity,

and benevolence.” 1

Joseph Pilmore was born in Yorkshire, England, and attended John Wesley’s school at Kingswood. An early convert to

Methodism, he came to Philadelphia in 1769 as a lay preacher. Pilmore subsequently broke with Wesley over the latter’s policy

regarding ordination of ministers. Edgar P. Richardson wrote that after the Revolution ended, Pilmore returned to England,

where he was ordained as a minister in the Anglican Church. 2 He then returned to Philadelphia, where he became a popular

preacher. Saint Paul’s Church on Third Street, which was said to have the largest interior in the former colonies, was built to

accommodate the crowds attracted by Pilmore’s eloquent preaching. 3 In addition to preaching at Saint Paul’s, he was rector of

the united parishes of Trinity (Oxford), All Saints (Lower Dublin), and Saint Thomas’s (Whitemarsh), in Montgomery County.

In 1772 Charles Willson Peale painted a portrait of Mary Benezet, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth North Benezet, who

married the Reverend Joseph Pilmore in 1790. Her portrait is now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After her death

Pilmore married the widow of William White, the first Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Since the

Pilmores had no children, their portraits descended in the White and Poulson families.

This portrait of Joseph Pilmore, which was later engraved by the artist (see plate 4), may be compared to a similar and welldocumented

portrait of George Washington that Peale also engraved (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia).

It is known that Washington sat for that portrait in 1787, so the same date is plausible for this painting. Both paintings are

clearly related to their mezzotints published that year, although Pilmore’s portrait has a rectangular format. The Washington

portrait remained with the artist as part of his museum collection, while the Pilmore portrait went directly to the sitter.

Notes

1. Brooke Hindle, Lillian B. Miller, and Edgar P. Richardson, Charles Willson Peale and His World (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1973), p. 101. 2. Hindle

et al., Charles Willson Peale and His World, p. 78. 3. Ibid.


4

Charles Willson Peale

(American, 1741–1827)

The Reverend Joseph Pilmore, 1787

Mezzotint engraving on paper, 7 1 /2 x 6 1 /4 inches (oval)

Letterpress (around oval border): “The Reverend JOSEPH PILMORE

Rector Of The United CHURCHES OF TRINITY, ST. THOMAS And

ALL-SAINTS./painted and Engraved by C. W. Peale 1787.”

Provenance: See plate 3.

References: Charles Coleman Sellers, “Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson

Peale,” in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 42, pt. 1 (Philadelphia:

American Philosophical Society, 1952), no. 692; Robert Devlin Schwarz, A Gallery

Collects Peales, Philadelphia Collection XXXV (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 1987),

no. 8; Wendy J. Shadwell, “The Portrait Prints of Charles Willson Peale,” in

Eighteenth-Century Prints in Colonial America, ed. Joan D. Dolmetsch (Williamsburg,

Va.: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1979), pp. 134–40

Several years of postwar depression followed the end of the Revolutionary War. Although Charles Willson Peale was a

popular artist during that time, portrait commissions could not support his family and their house at Third and Lombard

streets, which he had purchased in 1780. In London, artists had enjoyed great success with engravings after their paintings.

Peale decided that this could be a profitable endeavor for him, and so in 1787 he began to publish a series of mezzotint

portraits. The first three engravings—of Franklin, Lafayette, and Washington—were followed by this print of Joseph

Pilmore. The Pilmore portrait was not part of the original series, but after its advertisement in the Pennsylvania Packet (May

18 and July 2, 1787), it became Peale’s most popular print. Although the artist had anticipated a series of a dozen engravings

of famous Americans, he published only the first three and this portrait of Pilmore. The difficult process of producing and

marketing the engravings without the services of the printmakers and printsellers available to artists in the London market

limited the profitability of this “pioneer effort to establish printmaking in Philadelphia.” 1 This is one of six impressions of

the Pilmore mezzotint known. 2

Notes

1. Edgar P. Richardson, “Charles Willson Peale’s Engravings in the Year of the National Crisis,” in Charles Willson Peale and His World by Edgar P.

Richardson et al. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1973), p. 181. 2. Wendy J. Shadwell, “The Portrait Prints of Charles Willson Peale,” in Eighteenth-

Century Prints in Colonial America, ed. Joan D. Dolmetsch (Williamsburg, Va.: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1979), pp. 134–40.


Charles Peale Polk

The opportunity to study this pair of portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Henry Schroeder by Charles Peale Polk almost two

decades after first viewing them has led to a major reevaluation of their place within this artist’s oeuvre and a renewed

recognition of their great visual strength and beauty. The intervening years have afforded the opportunity to see numerous

works by Polk, a major non-academic painter active from the 1780s until the 1820s in the Middle Atlantic states. Based on

a knowledge of almost 100 of his portraits (it is thought that he executed over 150) as well as on a greater familiarity with

the works of the multitudinous painting members of the Peale family, the current discussion of this pair of portraits reflects

a new and informed appreciation of Polk’s achievement as a painter. These portraits can now be seen as integral to

understanding the development of Polk’s mature style and provide evidence of his eighteenth-century reputation as well as

the regard given his work in recent American art history scholarship.

Born to Robert Polk and Elizabeth Digby Peale in Annapolis, Maryland, and orphaned during the American Revolution, Polk

was raised by his uncle, the noted artist Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827), who educated him as a painter. Polk’s artistic

career began in Philadelphia about 1785, around the same time he married Ruth Ellison, but by 1791 he had moved his

family to Baltimore. Polk remained there for five years before moving west to Frederick, Maryland. During the subsequent

five years as an itinerant painter in western Maryland and the northern Shenandoah Valley, Polk solidified his mature style.

Abandoning academic traditions, his distinctive style emerged, combining a heightened palette and electric highlights with

an exaggerated attenuation of the human form. The 1799 group of portraits of Isaac Hite, his wife and son Eleanor Conway

Hite and James Madison Hite, as well as his in-laws James Madison Sr. and Eleanor Conway Madison (Belle Grove, The National

Trust for Historic Preservation, Middletown, Virginia) are Polk’s acknowledged masterpieces and demonstrate his manner of

presenting more about the sitter than a physical likeness. Polk’s style was to depict sitters with objects and in settings that

portrayed their family relationships, business dealings, or political beliefs. In the case of Isaac Hite, for example, the portraitist

declared the sitter’s support of the Republican Party, and Thomas Jefferson’s candidacy for President, by depicting Hite

prominently holding a newspaper known for its Republican views. To visually reinforce Hite’s political ideals further, Polk

was then commissioned to create a portrait of Jefferson. Polk arrived at Monticello with a letter of introduction from James

Madison, Hite’s brother-in-law, and during November 1799 painted a portrait of Jefferson that was to become the source of

at least five replicas. Which painting he delivered to Belle Grove, the Hite home, has not been determined. The portrait of

Jefferson that once hung there left the possession of the Hite descendants following the Civil War.

Within a year of completing the portrait of Jefferson (and of Jefferson’s election as President), Polk moved to Washington,

D.C., seeking a government appointment, which he eventually received as a clerk in the United States Treasury Department.

Through 1816 he painted occasional portraits of District residents, during which time he began working in verre églomisé,

a type of reverse painting with gold leaf on glass. Polk married a second time following the death of Ruth Ellison Polk. His

membership in the Baptist Church, begun in Philadelphia and continued in Maryland, led him to become one of the

founding members of the First Baptist Church of Washington. After the death of his second wife (the widow

Brockenbourgh) and two years after his third marriage (to Ellen Ball Downman), the couple and their only child relocated

to land Ellen had inherited in Richmond County, Virginia, where Polk was to spend the last two years of his life on their

farm. His death in 1831 was announced in Washington newspapers.


The portraits of Herman Henry Schroeder and Susannah Schwartz Schroeder were painted in either 1793 or 1794, while

Polk was a resident of Baltimore. The artist presents a youthful couple, active in that community—a successful merchant

and his wife. Polk’s basic stylistic elements are clearly seen in the beauty and charm of these works. The sitters’ images are

unified as a pair by poses, palette, details of costume, props, and setting. Their poses in both portraits are specifically Polk’s

own—the figures pulled up close to the canvas, seated comfortably before the painter, relaxed but still cordially formal. It

is not known whether these portraits were executed in the artist’s studio, in a rented space, or at Wandsbeck, the home of

the sitters. In any of these settings, Polk could have provided the furnishings for a portrait setting: chairs and tables, drapes,

and a platform. The fact that similar chairs appear in other portraits suggests that they were part of the artist’s studio

equipment. What is not usual for Polk, however, is the absence of background props such as draperies or architectural

elements, suggesting that the Schroeders may have been painted in a studio set up by Polk in a rented space. Their bodies

are positioned to form echoing brackets: she turns right toward him and he turns left toward her. All visual elements seem

to have been selected to complement or contrast each sitter with or to the other: her salmon-colored gown to his green coat,

her round table to his square-cornered table, her rosebud and book to his letter and hand-held chart. Each figure is seen

against the same simple gray background of empty but luminous space.

After thus unifying them as a couple Polk focuses attention on each figure. Susannah is placed at her husband’s right hand,

historically a position of matrimonial subservience. She is attired in female finery, with an elaborate bonnet of cascading,

sheer white fabric edged with ribbons and festooned with bows. Her youth, evident in her facial features, is complemented

by the dark ringlets on her shoulders and the expanse of neck and firm bosom above a plunging neckline, barely kept modest

by a white fichu pulled down and restrained by a bow almost at her ribbon-enwrapped waist. Those white v-forms lead the

viewer’s eye to her hands, demurely resting in a lap of sprigged, salmon-colored fabric. The quietness of her hands

accentuates the delicate rosebud held between her left forefinger and thumb. Brought to nearly equal prominence by the

direction of those v-forms is her gold-banded finger. The budding flower and wedding band not only symbolize her

youthfulness and state of matrimony but suggest her fertility.

Susannah Schwartz Schroeder’s ties to Herman Henry Schroeder are symbolically reinforced by more than the gold band.

Their linkage is suggested visually by a number of coy elements painted by Polk, such as the repetition of the rosebud

embroidered or printed again and again in the patterning of her gown. Sprig after sprig arches, embroidered or printed leaf

and stem forms recalling buds and leaves, all colored the same hue of green as in her husband’s coat.

In his portrait Herman Henry Schroeder sits upright, declaring his masculinity in the greater rigidity and strength of his pose.

As with Susannah, the depiction of his clothing is filled with a wealth of specific details that not only declare his position in

their relationship but also visually unify his image. The green of his coat is echoed in the delightful detail of the stitching on

his yellow vest, which is set off against the white ruffles of the shirt and lace-edged jabot tied in a bow at his neck.

Polk has carefully observed and recorded Schroeder’s distinctive facial features of high cheekbones, arched eyebrows, and

long, thin nose above a small mouth. Clearly, Schroeder was as fashion conscious in his dress as he was reputed to have been


5

Charles Peale Polk

(American, 1767–1822)

Susannah Schwartz (Mrs. Herman Henry) Schroeder (1767–1794), 1793–94

Oil on canvas, 36 x 29 1 /2 inches

Provenance: Descended in the family of the sitter

Exhibited: Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Charles Peale Polk, 1767–1822: A

Limner and His Likenesses (July 18–Sept. 6, 1981), no. 68

Recorded: Linda Crocker Simmons, Charles Peale Polk, 1767–1822: A Limner and His

Likenesses (Washington, D.C.: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1981), p. 46, no. 68 (repro.)

Reference: Linda Crocker Simmons, “Politics, Portraits and Charles Peale Polk,” in The Peale

Family: Creation of a Legacy, 1770–1870, ed. Lillian B. Miller (New York: Abbeville Press, 1996)

Note: These works retain what appear to be their original black and gilt frames, as well as

some of the hanging rings at the top back of both frames.


6

Charles Peale Polk

(American, 1767–1822)

Herman Henry Schroeder (1764–1839), 1793–94

Oil on canvas, 36 x 29 inches

Provenance: Descended in the family of the sitter

Exhibited: Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Charles Peale Polk, 1767–1822: A Limner

and His Likenesses (July 18–Sept. 6, 1981), no. 69

Recorded: Linda Crocker Simmons, Charles Peale Polk, 1767–1822: A Limner and His Likenesses

(Washington, D.C.: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1981), p. 46, no. 69 (repro.)

Reference: Linda Crocker Simmons, “Politics, Portraits and Charles Peale Polk,” in The Peale

Family: Creation of a Legacy, 1770–1870, ed. Lillian B. Miller (New York: Abbeville Press, 1996)


in the architecture of his residence. He wears his hair in a fashionable French manner, powdered white, curled at the ears,

and pulled back to a ponytail on his back—the tiny point of the black ribbon visible over his left shoulder. Such careful

observation and depiction lend credibility to the belief that very little that was represented by Polk was by chance or without

a function or purpose related to our understanding or appreciation of the image. Unfortunately, unlocking the meaning of

the various elements and details included in this late-eighteenth-century portrait may not be as easy as describing them.

Herman Henry Schroeder holds a piece of paper in his right hand, lying in his lap. The paper has a central area of painted

bars surmounted by a star shape of lines, maybe in pen and ink, with his initials and “No 27” inscribed:

Evidently, this paper and the inscriptions and colors on it had very specific meanings for the sitter. It is known that

Schroeder was born in Wandsbeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, in 1764 and that he died in Baltimore on July 24, 1839.

Thus, the first date given is clearly a reference to his birth, but the symbolic importance of the stripe of ochre to the right

of the date has not yet been determined. It is evident that the following dates all represent significant events in Schroeder’s

life and that this piece of paper is not just a visualization of Schroeder’s personal genealogy but also a visual and symbolic

outline of the married life of the two subjects. The birth of their fourth son would not take place until March 4, 1794, which

is foretold by the rosebud in Susannah’s portrait, another genealogical event linking the young couple.

Date

1764

1765

1785

1785

1787

1789

1791

Color

ochre

dark green

scarlet

dark blue

dark green

blue-green

black

Significant Event

birth

baptism

emigration

marriage

birth of Herman Henry, Jr.

birth of Frederick Henry

birth of Thomas Charles

It is possible that the forthcoming birth, symbolically foretold in the paired images of the sitters, may have been the reason for

the creation of this pair of portraits in late 1793 or very early 1794. These paintings are a portrayal of the Schroeder family and

possibly a statement intended to link the sitters with preceding generations. One can argue that the slip of paper Schroeder

holds may have been intended to be enclosed in the open letter lying on the table. This slip appears to be creased along the

long sides of the colors, and the creases correspond to the creasing on the sheet of paper. Uncharacteristically for Polk, the

writing on that sheet of paper is illegible; however, it has the form of a letter, which could be sealed and sent with the family

genealogy folded inside. Further speculation might lead one to consider the number at the top of the hand-held slip to be

numbered as the 27th generation of the Schroeder family, a possibility that would require extensive additional research to

support. Until such information is available to prove or disprove such a supposition, the mystery of the number 27 will remain.

—Linda Crocker Simmons


7

Thomas Birch

(American, born England, 1779–1851)

English Setter, 1813

Oil on panel, 9 x 11 inches

Signed and dated at lower right: “T Birch/1813”

Inscribed in ink on canvas verso: “Painted by Thos Birch.1813. Phila.”

Provenance: Schwarz Gallery by 1992; private collection until 2003

Exhibited: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Third Annual

Exhibition (1813), no. 121

Illustrated: F. Turner Reuter, Jr., A History of American Animal and Sporting Art,

1750–1950 (Lanham, Md.: Derrydale Press, forthcoming)

Thomas Birch, son of the well-known enamelist, watercolorist, and engraver William Birch (1755–1834), was one of early

America’s most important marine artists and the founder of the Philadelphia tradition of marine painting. Born in England,

he came to the United States with his family when he was fifteen. Birch learned the technical skills of engraving from his

father, and in 1799 they published their widely known series of Philadelphia views. In addition to his father’s instruction,

the young artist was able to study paintings by important English and European artists that his father owned. In 1795

Thomas Birch entered two small watercolors in the Columbianum in Philadelphia, the first public art exhibition in the

United States. From 1812 to 1817 Birch was curator at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he exhibited

almost annually from 1811 until his death in 1851. Among his more famous students were George R. Bonfield

(1802–1898), Thomas Cole (1801–1848), and James Hamilton (1819–1878).

Although Birch is best known for his views of the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, his marine views of the mid-Atlantic and

New England coasts, and his ship portraits and naval battles, he also painted many landscapes that feature country houses

(the subject of another print series by the two Birches) or recreational activities such as sleighing (see plate 14) and hunting.

Dog portraits were an uncommon subject for American artists in the early nineteenth century, but a very popular one in the

Birches’ native England.


8

Adolph-Ulric Wertmüller

(American, born Sweden, 1751–1811)

Portrait of Elisabeth Henderson Wertmüller, 1801

Oil on panel, 6 1 /2 x 5 1 /4 inches (oval)

Signed and dated at left center: “A.W./1801”

Inscribed in pencil on panel verso: “picture portrait of Maria R. Saymens/Date

about 1780 [sic]” 1

Provenance: Schwarz Gallery, 1997; Pennsylvania private collection, 1998–2002

Recorded (probably): Adolph-Ulric Wertmüller, “Notte de tous mes ouvrages finis

. . . pour les années 1780–1801”: “15 Aout [1801]—Fini le portrait de ma femme

Elisabeth Henderson, [ . . . ] de 6 pouces sur 5 pouces, sur bois en ovale.” 2

The life and travels of the Swedish-born portraitist, miniaturist, and history painter Adolph-Ulric Wertmüller reflected the

changing times in which he lived. Wertmüller began his studies in painting at the Art Academy in his native Stockholm with

Lorentz Pasch the Younger (1733–1805), but in 1772 he moved to Paris, a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan artistic

center. In Paris he studied first with his cousin Alexander Roslin (1718–1793), an established portraitist in the French

capital, and then with Roslin’s friend, the influential French painter Joseph-Marie Vien (1716–1809). 3 When Vien became

head of the French Academy in Rome, Wertmüller followed Vien to this center of western artistic culture, where he studied

the great works of antiquity, honed his perspective skills, and began to produce large-scale canvases. Returning to Paris in

1779, Wertmüller’s growing success in portraiture and history painting attracted the attention of King Gustaf III of Sweden.

Although Wertmüller remained in Paris, he was elected to the Swedish Academy and was named the King’s “First Painter.”

In 1784 Wertmüller was elected to the French Royal Academy, and in 1785 he exhibited his large portrait Queen Marie

Antoinette Walking in the Trianon Park with Two of Her Children (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm). Despite his honors

Wertmüller did not find commissions forthcoming in Paris, and in 1788 he left for Bordeaux, where his skills as a portraitist

were in greater demand and where he enjoyed significant financial success. In 1790, unsettled by the upheavals in

Revolutionary France, Wertmüller sought professional opportunities in Spain. However, by 1794 he was frustrated with

patronage in both Madrid and Cadiz, and he availed himself of an opportunity to travel to America. Although neither

Wertmüller nor his friend and traveling companion Henrik Gahn came to America with the intention of staying, both men

eventually settled here and became citizens. 4

Wertmüller may have been the most well-trained artist to arrive on American shores in the 1790s, and his artistic abilities

were readily acknowledged upon his arrival in Philadelphia. By December 1794 he had painted several members of Congress

as well as President Washington. 5 His interest in the Philadelphia art community and the creation, by its artists, of America’s

first art academy, the Columbianum, is attested to by his signature on documents relating to the creation of that

organization. Wertmüller also found the city congenial to his freedom-loving politics and, on a personal level, he made

friends within the area’s substantial Swedish community. Most important among these friends was Elisabeth (Betsey)

Henderson, who later would become his wife. Betsey was the granddaughter of the Swedish immigrant artist Gustavus

Hesselius (1682–1755) and the niece of the artist John Hesselius (1728–1778), who had given Charles Willson Peale (see

plates 3 and 4) his first lessons in the art of painting. 6 Late in 1796, Wertmüller’s courtship of Betsey was interrupted when

he was forced to return to Europe because his finances, which he had entrusted to a relative who turned out to be

unscrupulous, were found to be in shambles. After much difficulty and disappointment in Europe, Wertmüller returned to

Philadelphia with his paintings, books, and drawings, but little cash.


actual size

The most significant work Wertmüller returned with from Europe was his Danae and the Shower of Gold (Nationalmuseum,

Stockholm). A lifesize painting of a female nude he had done in Paris in 1787, the work was a prime example of Rococo

Classicism. The subject of the Danae was taken from the ancient classic, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and the meticulous modeling

of her nubile form was admired by the important French artist Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), who had also been a

student of Wertmüller’s master, Vien. 7 Despite hesitations about its risqué subject matter, Danae’s admirers on this side of the

Atlantic were numerous. Charles Willson Peale recommended it to the architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764–1820) as

being “very worth while your seeing.” 8 And Charles’s son Rembrandt Peale (1778–1860), who later recalled that “bustling

connoisseurs declared that no American painter could ever equal the beauty of its coloring,” assisted Wertmüller in setting up

and promoting the picture’s exhibition. Mondays were typically designated as days for ladies to view the work without the

embarrassment of male companionship. 9 In 1803 the Wertmüllers moved to Naaman’s Creek on the banks of the Delaware

River to dedicate themselves to farming, but, ironically, the income from their agricultural pursuits was eclipsed by the more


substantial sum generated by the display of the Danae. 10 This financial fact did not escape the notice of Rembrandt Peale,

who, after Wertmüller’s death in 1811, unsuccessfully attempted to purchase the “beautiful and brilliant” picture for display

in his Apollodorian Gallery. 11 After changing hands several times during the next few years, the painting was purchased by

the artist John Wesley Jarvis (1780–1840), who exhibited it at his New York painting rooms. It was here that the young Henry

Inman (1801–1846) encountered Wertmüller’s masterpiece and was inspired to become a painter. 12

In the small oval portrait of a young woman pictured here, Wertmüller deftly merged his skills as portraitist and history

painter. The specificity of the subject’s likeness is softened by the glow of the sun rising from the shadows of night, and her

diaphanous, high-waisted, white muslin shift suggests an affinity with the ancient goddesses, the Venuses and the Auroras that

the artist was so adept at rendering. 13 Wertmüller’s use of neoclassical garb was a continuation of a European portrait

convention, particularly popular in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, that portrayed women as goddesses or

characters from Classical literature. As a portrait type, it also conforms to the tradition of partially nude images of wives or

mistresses that were designed to celebrate the subject’s physical charms. 14 Wertmüller’s initials and the date 1801, clearly

inscribed on the tree trunk to the right of the figure, establishes the fact that this portrait was among the first works he painted

upon his return to America. It has been suggested that the intimacy and tenderness of the image, along with the placement

of his initials on the tree, a site where lovers traditionally inscribed their initials, are visual clues to the artist’s amorous link

to his subject. 15 This supposition correlates with the fact that on his return to Philadelphia from Europe in November 1800,

Wertmüller lost little time in fulfilling his pledge of marriage to Elisabeth Henderson, and the couple was wed by the Rev.

Nicholas Collin in Old Swedes’ Church in January 1801. During the following summer, the artist recorded in his “Notte de

tous mes ouvrages finis . . . pour les années 1780–1801” that he had completed oval portraits on panel of himself and his

wife, each measuring 6 by 5 inches. 16 This exact correspondence in date, medium, and dimensions strongly argues for the

identification of the portrait of a young woman as an image of Betsey Henderson Wertmüller. 17 The medium, size, and format

of these two portraits also correspond exactly to those of the two portraits Wertmüller painted of his sisters in Stockholm in

1799, which he brought back with him to Philadelphia. 18 These portraits, therefore, may have formed a family group.

The sunrise behind Betsey may be seen as a metaphor for the beginning of the Wertmüllers’ life together in the artist’s newly

adopted country. But Betsey’s neoclassical attire may be seen as both metaphoric and real, since French fashions “à l’antique”

were the height of fashion in Philadelphia in 1801. The city’s influential literary magazine, the Port Folio, noted the

popularity of the short “Titus” hairstyle Betsey sports, as well as the vogue for wearing pearls in the hair. 19 The French

antique style inspired low necklines, high waists, short sleeves, narrow skirts, and sheer fabrics, and the sight of such

“unchaste costume” led to much critical and satiric commentary. While most Philadelphia women selected only certain

elements of this style, there were those who presented themselves as unabashedly “fashionable nudes” and adopted the “wet

and adhesive drapery” of neoclassicism. 20 The extremes of this style were favored by such beautiful, wealthy, and

cosmopolitan young women as Maria Bingham, daughter of the Philadelphia merchant William Bingham, and Elizabeth

Patterson Bonaparte, the young American wife of Jerome Bonaparte. 21 While Betsey Henderson Wertmüller undoubtedly

presented herself more chastely in public, the high fashion of the day and Wertmüller’s European perspective merge in this

intimate and gentle portrait that mixes likeness, imagination, and the projection of hope for the future. 22

—Carol Eaton Soltis

Notes

1. The inscription penciled on the back of this portrait contradicts the information on the front. The inscription tentatively states that the image was

created “about” 1780, a date twenty years prior to the date of 1801, which is inscribed on the tree trunk to the left of the figure. The date of 1780 also

is inconsistent with the subject’s costume. Therefore, although the provenance of this picture may be linked to a Maria Saymens and her descendants, it

is unlikely that the portrait is an image of Maria Saymens. No references exist to individuals named Saymens in Wertmüller’s records from either his

European or his American years. If the evidence supporting the identification of the portrait’s subject as Elisabeth Henderson Wertmüller, the artist’s

wife, is correct, the portrait may have been obtained by a member of the Saymens family at one of the several sales of Wertmüller’s studio and the


Wertmüllers’ household items that occurred after the death of the artist in 1811 or the death of his wife in 1812. 2. Wertmüller’s “Notte de tous mes

ouvrages finis . . . pour les années 1780–1801” is in the Royal Library, Stockholm. 3. Wertmüller’s earliest training was in drawing and sculpture with

Pierre-Hubert Larcheveque (1721–1778). Franklin D. Scott, Wertmüller: Artist and Immigrant Farmer (Chicago: Swedish Pioneer Historical Society,

1963), p. 2. 4. Gahn’s uncle was the Swedish consul to Spain and arranged passage to and from Philadelphia for his nephew and Wertmüller. In 1797

Henrik Gahn, who later became a successful American businessman, served as Swedish consul in New York. Scott, Wertmüller, p.5. 5. For a list of

Wertmüller’s works executed in Philadelphia between 1794 and 1796, see Michel N. Benisovich, “Wertmüller et son livre de raison intitulé la ‘Notte,’”

Gazette des Beaux Arts, ser. 6, vol. 48 (July–Aug. 1956), pp. 58–60. 6. Gustavus Hesselius arrived in Delaware in 1711, but soon after he settled in

Philadelphia. His son, John, settled in Maryland. In 1763 the young Maryland-born saddler Charles Willson Peale gave John Hesselius one of his “best

saddles with its complete furniture” in return for three lessons in portrait painting. Peale stated that these lessons “infinitely lightened the difficulties of

the new art” for him, and he shortly thereafter advertised himself as a painter. Lillian B. Miller, ed., The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His

Family, vol.1 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1983), p. 33. 7. Scott, Wertmüller, p.5. 8. Charles Willson Peale to B. H. Latrobe,

Philadelphia, May 13, 1805, Peale-Sellers Papers, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Lillian B. Miller, ed., The Selected Papers of Charles

Willson Peale and His Family, vol. 2, pt. 2 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988), p. 834. 9. Rembrandt Peale, “Reminiscences, Adolph-

Ulric Wertmüller,” The Crayon, vol. 2, no. 14 (Oct. 3, 1855), p. 207. Although the painting had been available to be seen since its arrival late in 1800,

its first formal display was established in the fall of 1806. Wishing to stop the random flow of people coming to see the picture at his home at Naaman’s

Creek, Wertmüller placed the Danae on permanent public exhibition in Philadelphia. An advertisement in the Pennsylvania Gazette on Sept. 25, 1806,

states that the painting was on view Mondays through Saturdays, and the admission fee was 25 cents. See Michel N. Benisovich, “Further Notes on A.-

U. Wertmüller in the United States and France,” Art Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1 (spring 1963), p. 9. 10. When Wertmüller’s estate was auctioned in

1812, the Philadelphia auctioneer John Dorsey advertised the Danae as earning “$800 per annum without solicitude.” See Poulson’s American and Daily

Advertiser, Apr. 16–19, 1812. When the painting first arrived in the city, it brought as much as $1,100 per annum. In 1803 Wertmüller purchased a

farm at Naaman’s Creek, Delaware, about 20 miles south of Philadelphia. For his life as a farmer, see the Naaman’s Creek Diary, translated from the

French manuscript, “Journal de la terre situé à Naaman’s Creek,” (Royal Library, Stockholm) by Franklin D. Scott and Rosamond Porter in Scott,

Wertmüller, pp. 33–173. 11. Peale, “Wertmüller,” p. 207. Peale was outbid, but in response, he painted his own large exhibition picture with a female

nude as its central feature. For a discussion of Peale’s painting Jupiter and Io and its relationship to Wertmüller’s painting, See Carol Eaton Soltis, “In

Sympathy with the Heart: Rembrandt Peale, an American Artist and the Traditions of European Art,” Ph.D. diss. (University of Pennsylvania, 2000),

pp. 290–334. 12. H. T. Tuckerman on Inman’s experience, as quoted in Michel N. Benisovich, “The Sale of the Studio of Adolph-Ulrich Wertmüller,”

Art Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1 (spring 1953), pp. 33, 36. Tuckerman described the painting as “one of the most exquisite pieces of flesh painting which

has emanated from the French school of which the Swedish artist was essentially a votary.” The Danae was given to the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm,

in 1913 by its American owner, J. E. Heaton of New Haven, Conn. See Benisovich, “The Sale,” p. 36. 13. For the numerous figures from Classical

mythology he painted, see Benisovich, “The Sale,” pp. 24, 27–30; Benisovich, “Further Notes on A.-U. Wertmüller,” pp. 13, 21; Benisovich,

“Wertmüller et son livre de raison intitulé la ‘Notte,’” pp. 51, 59, 63. 14. For an example of an American miniature portrait of this type painted c.

1805, see Robin Jaffe Frank, Love and Loss, American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999), pp. 195,

fig. 100. For European examples, see Jacqueline du Pasquier, “La Situation de la miniature à Bordeaux,” in l’âge d’or du petit portrait (Paris: Réunion

des Musées Nationaux, 1995), pp. 57, 69. 15. In regard to this portrait, Dr. Ellen Miles of the National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.) cited

the tradition in European art of showing lovers’ initials on tree trunks. Ellen Miles to David Cassedy of the Schwarz Gallery, in a telephone conversation

on April 16, 1998. See American Paintings (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 1998), no. 3. 16. Wertmüller’s notes read: “30 Juillet—Fini Mon Portrait

pour Moi en petit de 6 pouces sur 5 pouces sur bois en ovale.” “15 Aout—Fini le portrait de ma femme Elisabeth Henderson, en petit pendent [sic]

pour le mien ci-dessus, de 6 pouces sur 5 pouces, sur bois en ovale.” According to the “Notte,” the only oval panel portrait of a woman he painted in

1801 was the portrait of Betsey. The “Notte” actually included works painted in 1802. It is fully transcribed in Benisovich, “Wertmüller et son livre de

raison intitulé la ‘Notte,’” p. 63. The measurements of 5 x 6 inches and the medium of a wooden oval were frequently employed by Wertmüller. 17.

The pendant portrait of Wertmüller is presently unlocated. Wertmüller was 50 years old when he married, and he wrote home to his family that Betsey

was “a most respectable and kindly young woman.” Scott, Wertmüller, p. 14. Wertmüller died at age 61 on Oct. 5, 1811. Betsey outlived her husband

by only a few months; she died on Jan. 19, 1812. Betsey’s birth date is unknown, and there are conflicting comments in the Wertmüller literature in

regard to it. For undated miniature (on copper) likenesses of Wertmüller and Betsey, see Benisovich, “The Sale,” p. 25. This portrait of Betsey appears

to resemble the likeness in Portrait of Elisabeth Henderson Wertmüller. Both portraits are also similar to the portrait painted by Wertmüller in Philadelphia

in 1795, which is now in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. This portrait is also oval, although it is slightly larger (9 1 /2 x 7 1 /2 inches). It is signed and

dated “A. Wertmüller Suedois, pinx/Philadelphia, 1795.” It seems likely that Wertmüller painted this as a sentimental “aide memoire” of Betsey prior to

his departure for Europe and left it with his family in Sweden when he returned to Philadelphia. A photograph of this work is also available at the Frick

Art Reference Library (New York). 18. On page 78 of his “Notte de tous mes ouvrages finis,” Wertmüller recorded painting these two portraits of his

sisters for himself (Hedvig Catherina Wertmüller, Mrs. Fredrik Ludwig Daevel and Louisa Fredrika Wertmüller, Mrs. Niklas Pauli). Both women are shown

in low-cut white muslin garments that accentuate but do not reveal their breasts as fully as Betsey’s breasts are revealed. Both women have colored shawls

over their shoulders. Images of these portraits are available at the Frick Art Reference Library. Both paintings are owned by Wertmüller’s collateral

descendants. See also Michel N. Benisovich, Portraits de la famille Wertmüller aux Etats-Unis (Stockholm: Konsthistorisk tidskrift, 1953), pp. 16–17. 19.

For a comprehensive discussion and many citations relating to the influence of French fashions in America at this time, see Michele Majer, “American

Women and French Fashion,” The Age of Napoleon, Costume from Revolution to Empire, 1789–1815, ed. Katell le Bourhis (New York: The Metropolitan

Museum of Art, 1989), pp. 217–237; “Festoon of Fashion,” Port Folio (May 29, 1802), p. 165; Aileen Ribeiro, The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and

France, 1750–1820 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995), p.115. 20. Majer, “American Women,” pp. 217, 232; “Festoon of Fashion,”

Port Folio (Dec. 12, 1801), p. 398. 21. Majer, “American Women,” p. 234; Ethel E. Rasmusson, “Democratic Environment-Aristocratic Aspirations,”

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 90, no. 2 (Apr. 1966), p. 168. 22. Wertmüller painted a few smaller-sized traditional miniature

portraits on silver or ivory mounted in gilded frames of young women whose dress is as revealing as Betsey’s. However, the portrait of Betsey Henderson

Wertmüller appears to be the only portrait of this type that is painted on wood, is larger in scale, and has a well-developed landscape background.


9

Adolph-Ulric Wertmüller

(American, born Sweden, 1751–1811)

Portrait of Mrs. Sims of Philadelphia, 1808

Oil on canvas, 27 x 21 3 /4 inches

Signed, dated, and inscribed indistinctly at upper left: “Wertmüller S/Philadelphia 1808” 1

Recorded (probably): Adolph-Ulric Wertmüller, Cash Book (Jan. 21, 1809):

“Received for two portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Sims, $200.” 2

The lush flesh painting evident in Wertmüller’s Danae and in the portrait of his wife Betsey is also evident in the artist’s

Portrait of Mrs. Sims of Philadelphia. 3 Although she is not a conventional beauty, Mrs. Sims’s flesh is soft, supple, and

flawless, and her particularized features are melded into a well-proportioned and serene face. The vivid red accents of her

shawl and the roses in her turban establish a bold triangular composition, while the meticulously rendered details of her

dress, her jewelry, and her dark braided hair and ringlets offer the viewer an intimate encounter with her presence through

their visual specificity. The lace on Mrs. Sims’s dress, the patterning of her shawl, and the small red buds, silhouetted against

the dark background above her head, display Wertmüller’s meticulous drawing and careful manipulation of light and

shadow. Such articulation of detail and such studied pictorial control surely contributed to the particularly high prices

Wertmüller charged for his portraits. His failing eyesight, during his later years, also must have made the creation of a work

such as this time-consuming and demanding. Yet this is a portrait that fully and gracefully reveals the hallmarks of

Wertmüller’s style—his keen observation of the visual world, academically precise technique, facility with color, and ability

to produce works that function simultaneously as sensuous recreations of the real world and finely crafted objects of luxury.

—Carol Eaton Soltis

Notes

1. Wertmüller typically added an “S” after his signature on his paintings to indicate his nationality. See Franklin D. Scott, Wertmüller: Artist and

Immigrant Farmer (Chicago: Swedish Pioneer Historical Society, 1963), p. 12, n. 28. 2. Wertmüller’s Cash Book is in the Archives of the

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. 3. A transcript of Wertmüller’s Cash Book, in Michel N. Benisovich, “Further Notes on A.-

U. Wertmüller in the United States and France,” Art Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 1 (spring 1963), p. 9, records an entry by Wertmüller for Jan. 21, 1809:

“ Received for two portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Sims, $200.” Since this is the only female portrait listed in the Cash Book for either 1808 or 1809, it

appears that Wertmüller did not receive his payment for the two Sims portraits until early 1809; and that this portrait, which is signed and dated

1808, is the portrait of Mrs. Sims. See Benisovich, “Further Notes,” p.21. This identification is further strengthened by the fact that Mrs. Joseph

Sims (Rebecca Heath, 1769–1830) was thirty-nine in 1808, an age that appears to correspond to the age of the sitter. Rebecca Heath married Joseph

Sims (1760–1851), who was later described by Abraham Ritter as a “well-known,” “opulent” and “venerable” Philadelphia merchant, in 1789. For

more on Sims, see Ritter, Philadelphia and Her Merchants (Philadelphia, 1860), pp. 53–4. Sims also owned at least two other works by Wertmüller.

An entry on May 12, 1795, in the artist’s “Notte” states: “Fini le portrait de Mr. Sims L’Aine après une miniature de Mr. Peale, pour Mr. Joseph Sims,

son frère, quare toile de 15.” Michel N. Benisovich, “Wertmüller et son livre de raison intitulé la ‘Notte,’” Gazette des Beaux Arts, ser. 6, vol. 48

(July–Aug. 1956), p. 59. The Sims family also owned Wertmüller’s Portrait of a Woman as Ceres, oil on canvas, 18 x 15 inches, inscribed at lower

right: “A. Wertmuller S./Philad: 1809.” See Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Quality, an Experience in Collecting (New York: Hirschl & Adler Galleries,

Nov. 12–Dec. 7, 1974), no. 45. This reference lists Sims’s descendants, Mary Sims, Francis Sims, and Joseph Sims as sequential owners of this work.


10

Francis Martin Drexel

(American, born Austria, 1792–1863)

Two Beggars at a Window

Oil on canvas, 30 1 /4 x 24 1 /4 inches

Signed indistinctly on verso (obscured by lining; pre-lining photograph on file):

“[F?] [D?_____]”

Provenance: (Tobias, Fischer & Co., New York, Apr. 10–11, 1953, no. 753, as

The Mendicants); Schwarz Gallery by 1990; private collection until 2003


Francis Martin Drexel

Francis Martin Drexel’s life was a see-saw of wealth, poverty, success, disgrace, and in the end, success and wealth once again.

Drexel was born in Dornbirn, Austria, the eldest son of a prosperous merchant. When Napoleon gained control of the Tyrol,

the family fortunes were decimated, and Drexel was forced to leave school. He was apprenticed to a painter in Dornbirn for

three years. After his involvement in the Tyrolese revolt, he fled to Switzerland, where he earned his living doing house and

coach painting. In 1814 he participated in an art exhibit in Lausanne before returning to Austria.

Drexel immigrated to the United States in 1817. He set up a studio in Philadelphia and exhibited there at the Pennsylvania

Academy of the Fine Arts for the first time in 1818. Among his seventeen submissions that year (most of them portraits),

The Beggar—“Give us this day our daily bread” was probably one of the paintings illustrated here. Drexel exhibited thirtyone

works at the Academy between 1818 and 1826. Almost all of these were portraits; a genre subject was unusual for Drexel

or for any artist painting in the United States in 1818. Another European immigrant to Philadelphia, John Lewis Krimmel

(see plate 12), is generally recognized as the first artist in the United States to specialize in painting scenes from everyday

life. He showed a genre picture, Pepper-Pot, a Scene in the Philadelphia Market (Philadelphia Museum of Art), at the

Pennsylvania Academy in 1811 and exhibited many more before his accidental death in 1821.

Drexel sailed for South America in 1826, and there he received commissions for almost two hundred portraits and miniatures.

He returned to Philadelphia in 1830 and continued his painting career until 1836. During that year the charter of the Second

Bank of the United States expired and was not renewed. Because of the financial expertise Drexel had gathered from his European

and South American experiences, he was able to parlay the bank chaos into a most profitable venture—the foundation of the

international banking house of Drexel and Company. He died in 1863 as a result of injuries suffered in a train accident.

Francis Martin Drexel’s son, Anthony Joseph Drexel, was one of the most successful financiers of the nineteenth century, as

well as a philanthropist and an art collector. He founded the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry (now Drexel

University) in Philadelphia, which opened its doors in 1891. From the beginning, Drexel displayed works of art in its main

building; today much of the University’s collection is displayed in the recently restored second-floor Picture Gallery. Many

artists have studied at Drexel; Thomas Eakins (1844–1916) and Howard Pyle (see plate 28) are the most influential to have

taught there. The Drexel Collection includes several paintings by Francis Martin Drexel, and in 1976 the university

mounted a loan exhibition of his work. Its catalogue, Francis Martin Drexel

(1792–1863): An Artist Turned Banker, is the most complete reference on

the artist. Portrait of the Artist at the Easel with His Wife and Daughter,

which is reproduced as the catalogue’s frontispiece, was acquired by the

Drexel Collection in 2003.

Attributed to Francis Martin Drexel

(American, born Austria, 1792–1863)

Young Beggar

11

Oil on panel, 16 3 /8 x 12 7 /8 inches


12

John Lewis Krimmel

(American, born Württemberg, 1786–1821)

Going to Market—The Disaster, 1811–21

Oil on canvas, 16 3 /8 x 19 3 /8 inches

Provenance: (Possibly) purchased from the artist by Zachariah Poulson, Jr.

(1761–1844), Philadelphia; descended in the Poulson family

Recorded: Milo M. Naeve, John Lewis Krimmel: An Artist in Federal America

(Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1987), p. 91, no. 28 (as unlocated)

“I consider him a prodigy in the art,” Charles Willson Peale (see plates 3 and 4) wrote in 1817 about John Lewis Krimmel. 1

Going to Market—The Disaster includes the action, character, color, and brushwork that inspired this verdict about the

young immigrant painter by the patriarch of the arts in Philadelphia.

Krimmel had anglicized his name from Johann Ludwig after fleeing the Napoleonic wars in the Germanic duchy of

Württemberg. 2 American contemporaries reported that he had been trained there by the court painter Johann Baptist Seele

(1774–1814). Sailing first to London, Krimmel remained there for an unknown period. He came to Philadelphia in 1809

at about the age of twenty-three. Krimmel’s accidental drowning in 1821 in nearby Germantown tragically closed a brief

career. His determined efforts over a decade, however, had made him the first artist in America to build a career on painting

subjects from contemporary life. Annual exhibitions in Philadelphia and New York City between 1811 and 1821 usually

included at least one of his genre pictures.

The recent discovery of Going to Market—The Disaster is a significant addition to the small number of John Lewis Krimmel’s

known efforts. The picture has not been reproduced in prints, it has not been exhibited, and it is published here for the first

time. Although the painting has been unknown to art historians, descendants of Krimmel’s possible patron appreciated the

picture and have kept it in excellent condition. It is credible, but undocumented, that the original owner was the notable

Philadelphian Zachariah Poulson, Jr. 3 He edited and owned a newspaper, The American Daily Advertiser, from 1800 to 1839.

The likelihood of Poulson’s patronage gains support from several circumstances. Significantly, Poulson and his wife,

Susanna, knew Krimmel and went to his studio on May 23, 1819—the day after their daughter was there—according to a

note in one of Krimmel’s sketchbooks (Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Delaware). 4 Poulson’s humanitarian

concerns, demonstrated through his many philanthropies, and his support for the arts generally offer insights into a

personality that could have led to an interest in contemporary genre pictures. Their subjects also paralleled daily events

reported in his newspaper, in which he energetically supported the fine arts. On January 3, 1820, for example, he gave

newspaper space to a long essay entitled “The Fine Arts” by the English immigrant John Robinson (died c. 1829), a portrait

and miniature painter. Robinson’s purpose was to justify an application by the Association of American Artists for

incorporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by explaining the public benefits of different kinds of picture subjects.

“Paintings of Domestic Scenes,” he wrote, “may be considered as having a corrective and enlightening tendency in the

general concerns of life.” Robinson’s thesis, that genre subjects offered models for good behavior, directly supported

Krimmel, who was president of the Association of American Artists the following year.

The strong lining canvas that, after about a half century, still firmly reinforces the original support of the painting may cover

Krimmel’s signature, a date, the title, or other inscriptions. But if the reverse of the painting is not inscribed, the lack of

documentation would not be surprising: Krimmel did not sign or inscribe most of his major paintings, such as Self-Portrait

with Susannah Krimmel and Her Children (private collection). 5

Secure attribution of Going to Market—The Disaster to Krimmel rests on an understanding of his distinctive approach to

painting. 6 Faint impressions remain of lines which he customarily made with a straight-edge and a compass in the damp


primer as guides for painting. These include lines on the house at the left, the inn at the right, and the trough at the lower

right. Equally significant for the attribution, the colors are typical of Krimmel, and the brush strokes range from Krimmel’s

customary broad ones in large areas of one color to his usual minuscule strokes for such details as ears and hands.

Documentary evidence firmly supports attribution of the picture to Krimmel and clearly identifies its subject. The catalogue

for the Eleventh Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for 1822, the year after Krimmel died, records

as number 408 a now unlocated “sketch in oil” entitled Going to Market—The Disaster &c. do (that is, a sketch in oil, like

the previous entry, painted as a study for a picture). The title, among those associated with Krimmel, is the most appropriate

for the recently discovered picture, illustrated here. Krimmel evidently had sold it before exhibiting it and placing a title on

record. The owner of the sketch exhibited in 1822 probably bought it at Krimmel’s estate sale, which was advertised in Relf’s

Philadelphia Gazette and Daily Advertiser on August 7, 1821.

A sketch, like the one exhibited in 1822, was a step—the final one—in the traditional European method of developing a

picture. The procedure is revealed in Krimmel’s few surviving sketchbooks. 7 He began the process with swiftly executed

compositional sketches, which he continued to draw until he produced one that satisfied him. Krimmel explored details in

drawings and watercolors. He then combined them in black-ink sketches for evaluating the composition and determining

the tonal values of the projected picture. An example of the last step in the process is an oil sketch for another picture, Return

from Market. 8 The oil sketch exhibited in 1822, consequently, is undoubtedly for a picture Krimmel completed, and the

title—recorded soon after the artist’s death—probably is the one he intended.

The oil sketch for Going to Market—The Disaster is unlocated. 9 Krimmel could have scraped away the sketch and replaced it with

another, but the exhibition record of 1822 reveals that he kept the original sketch and stored it. His lack of a will required estate

administrators to auction his possessions and divide proceeds among his heirs. The administrators may have omitted listing the

sketch in advertisements for the estate sale because they considered it—like others that survive and were in the sale—to be

without value. 10 It is possible, though unlikely, that Krimmel gave the sketch to an acquaintance or to the patron who bought

the completed picture.

Going to Market—The Disaster is included in the present

author’s 1987 catalogue of Krimmel’s unlocated pictures,

despite the lack of documentary evidence for it. 11 The

reason for including the entry was that Krimmel would

have painted the picture if he invested time in a final study.

Between 1832 and 1836, Alexander Lawson

(1773–1846) engraved the most accurate known

representation of Krimmel’s related picture, Return from

Market, and retitled it The Happy Family (fig. 1). 12 The

earliest known documentary reference to Return from

Market is Charles Willson Peale’s description of it in a

letter to his son Rembrandt after seeing it in an

exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

in the spring of 1819. 13 Going to Market—The Disaster

fig. 1; Alexander Lawson (American, 1773–1846); The Happy Family,

1832–36; After John Lewis Krimmel, Return from Market, 1811–19; Engraving

on paper, 4 3 /8 x 6 1 /2 inches; Ewell Sale Stewart Library, The Academy of Natural

Sciences of Philadelphia

cannot be considered a companion picture with the same general date, because the figures and the setting are different, and

measurements for Return from Market are unknown. The picture which is the subject of this essay can only be dated

conservatively between 1811 and 1821, the years when Krimmel was active as a genre painter. Krimmel also exhibited a

picture identified as The Accident. 14 This title could refer to the picture which is the subject of this essay, but Going to

Market—The Disaster offers a better description of the subject.


Krimmel was familiar with the British or European tradition for market subjects through the annual exhibitions at the

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in which he, too, had entered pictures. 15 One example he would have seen in 1811

was A Countryman Returning from Market, with Fowl and Basket of Eggs (no. 217) by the Dutch artist Aelbert Cuyp

(1620–1691); another, in 1813, was Going to Market (no. 64) by an artist identified only as “Brewdet.” Thomas

Gainsborough (1727–1788) had popularized market subjects among British artists and their public by introducing rustic

men, women, and children, who were going to market or returning, as elements in forest scenes as early as the 1760s. 16 The

slight suggestion of narrative in these pictures is well represented in Gainsborough’s Road from Market of 1767–68 (Toledo

Museum of Art). As market themes gained prominence, another Englishman, Francis Wheatley (1747–1801), became

known for adopting the subjects and emphasizing their anecdotal content. 17 Prints from his pictures and those of other

artists could have inspired Krimmel in Philadelphia, or he could have recalled pictures he had seen abroad.

Market subjects found a place in American painting in the years following Krimmel’s efforts. Typical examples are Market Day

(Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond) of 1842 by George Caleb Bingham (1811–1879) 18 and Going to Market (private

collection) of 1887 by Edward Lamson Henry (1841–1919). 19 These pictures reveal that representations of going to or returning

from market are among the weddings, elections, and Fourth-of-July celebrations that Krimmel introduced to American art.

Krimmel’s direct inspiration from specific British or European pictures and prints of market subjects has not been

established. Their existence is unlikely, because none of Krimmel’s other subjects can be traced to an exact source.

Krimmel did travel often from Philadelphia into the countryside to observe subjects for pictures. One of his few surviving letters

urges his friend Thomas Birch (1779–1851) to join him in the summer of 1812 or 1813 in an unspecified place for painting

“beautiful scenery.” 20 Krimmel’s sketchbooks document other excursions in both casual and detailed watercolors and drawings.

Among them, studies of a turkey could be the direct source for the one at the lower right of Going to Market—The Disaster. 21

Accuracy in painting the turkey and other details was essential for Krimmel’s contemporary acceptance. This feature of his

picture is useful today for documenting a vanished world. The usual portrait of the time records clothing among people

who—if not wealthy—were prosperous and occasionally preserved the costly attire in which they posed. Krimmel’s pictures

are unusual for recording dress among laborers and farmers without funds for portraits. They wore out clothing and repaired

garments with remnants until they discarded them. Going to Market—The Disaster records other transitory objects, from

buckets to wagons, that often lack documentation.

Many Americans in the second decade of the nineteenth century considered such records of daily life a lesser form of artistic

expression than the history painting endorsed in lectures to the Royal Academicians in London by Sir Joshua Reynolds

(1723–1792). His published annual Discourses were well known to Americans and reveal the gradual changes in the

principles since the Renaissance. Reynolds considered historical or literary subjects that offered moral instruction to be the

most important in a hierarchy of subjects. Portraits were at the bottom of the scale and slightly less important than genre

subjects. 22 The challenge to this standard and the new interest in subjects from daily life during Krimmel’s period are well

represented by James Robinson’s endorsement of them in Zachariah Poulson’s newspaper in 1820, cited above, and by the

North American Review and Miscellaneous Journal of Boston in 1816. 23

Genre subjects were gaining acceptance among progressive Americans, partly through the growing popularity of a

contemporary British artist, Sir David Wilkie (1785–1841), with whom Krimmel had declared an alliance. In 1813

Krimmel exhibited a copy (Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago) of an engraving by John Burnet (1784–1868) after

Wilkie’s cottage scene of 1806, The Blind Fiddler (Tate Gallery, London), in the annual exhibition of the Pennsylvania

Academy; beside it he placed his American rural counterpart, Quilting Frolic (Winterthur Museum). 24 Wilkie shrewdly had

combined the waning humanist tradition with the rising genre movement by composing his scene from contemporary daily

life according to the rules for pictures illustrating moral lessons. Instances of Krimmel’s adoption of these rules in Going to


Market—The Disaster include simplifying the composition by limiting complete figures to no more than twelve, focusing

attention on a light-struck central subject while keeping the edges of the picture in shadow, and placing figures within

interlocking ovals or circles on the two-dimensional surface of the canvas. 25 Krimmel’s Going to Market—The Disaster also

conforms to the British and Continental tradition of adopting gestures from the theater to painting. Examples in this

painting are the man and woman in the wagon holding their hands out with fingers apart to express surprise.

Krimmel also followed Wilkie’s program and American critical opinion by idealizing rural life. An unidentified critic in the

Port Folio explained the interpretation in a review of Krimmel’s Quilting Frolic and his copy after Wilkie’s The Blind Fiddler,

when Krimmel exhibited them at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1813. Wilkie, the reviewer wrote, is the “founder of a new

school of painting—he appears to have copied nature very closely, without her deformities: he has given all the character

and finish of [David] Teniers [1610–1690] without his vulgarities.” 26

Thomas Jefferson was another strong contemporary spokesman for an optimistic philosophy of rural life and rural people.

Europeans often echoed his view in their fascination with the nation of farmers and the new kind of society without a hereditary

class structure. Alexis de Tocqueville, a visitor in 1831, is the best-known of these observers. This enthusiasm for the new

republic is equally evident during Krimmel’s period in a book by William Cobbett. The British visitor traveled throughout the

United States from May 5, 1817, to April 20, 1818, and wrote that here there was no “class like that which the French call

peasantry, and . . . of late years applied to the whole mass of the most useful people in England, those who do the work and

fight the battles.” 27 The Port Folio’s anonymous reviewer in 1813, cited above, concluded his endorsement of Wilkie by writing

that “we believe his school of painting well fitted for our republican manners, and habits, and more likely than any other to be

appreciated at present.” 28 Krimmel clearly expressed this theme through the farmers in Going to Market—The Disaster.

—Milo M. Naeve

Notes

In appreciation of Mr. Naeve’s contribution to this catalogue, a donation

in his name has been made, at his request, to the Skowhegan School of

Painting and Sculpture in Maine, a program for emerging artists.

1. Lillian B. Miller et al., eds., The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991), vol. 3, p.

500. Peale wrote the comment on May 28, 1817, in a journal for a trip to New York City. 2. Biographical information in this essay is from Milo

M. Naeve, John Lewis Krimmel: An Artist in Federal America (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1987), chapt. 1, “Krimmel in Europe and

America,” pp. 15–34. 3. The comprehensive biography remains M. Atherton Leach, “Zachariah Poulson,” The American Scandinavian Review,” vol.

8, no. 7 (July 1920), pp. 510–17. There are no references to Krimmel’s picture in Poulson’s estate papers (his wife predeceased him): County of

Philadelphia, Register of Wills, Estate of Zachariah Poulson, Will 151, 1844, and Estate Inventory, Sept. 13, 1844. 4. Sketchbook 5, inside back cover.

5. Milo M. Naeve, “Self-Portrait with Susannah Krimmel and Her Children” in American Paintings, Philadelphia Collection LXIII (Philadelphia: Schwarz

Gallery, 1998), no. 10. For discussion of other undocumented pictures, see Naeve, Krimmel, p. 42. 6. See Naeve, Krimmel, pp. 40–41. 7. For detailed

discussion of Krimmel’s procedures, see Ibid., pp. 39–41. 8. See Ibid., p. 98, no. 56. 9. See Ibid., p. 100, no. 63. 10. See Ibid., p. 98, no. 56; p.

99, nos. 57 and 59; p. 100, no. 63. 11. See Ibid., p. 91, no. 28. 12. See Ibid., pp. 91–92, no. 29; pp. 120–22, nos. 110–12. 13. Letter, May 22,

1819, in Miller, The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, vol. 3, p. 719. 14. Naeve, Krimmel, p. 88, no. 16. 15. Ibid., p. 87, no. 12;

pp. 69–73, nos. 2 and 3. 16. Diane Perkins, Evening Landscape with Peasants Returning from Market and Peasants and Colliers Going to Market: Early

Morning in Gainsborough, ed. Michael Rosenthal and Martin Myrone (London: Tate Publishing, 2002), p. 216, no. 114; p. 217, no. 115. 17. For British

and American pictures with these themes, I am grateful to Dr. Catherine Gordon, Director, Witt Computer Index, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

(Letter to Milo M. Naeve, Dec. 9, 2002), “List 1, The Witt Browse List” and “List 2, British Paintings in British Collections”; Nicole Semenchuk,

Assistant to the Coordinator, Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture, Art Information Resources, Smithsonian American Art Museum (Letter

to Milo M. Naeve, Nov. 18, 2002); and the Frick Art Reference Library, New York. 18. E. Maurice Bloch, The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham: A

Catalogue Raisonné (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986), p. 162, no. 124 (repro. p. 56). 19. Color illustration in advertisement, Adam A.

Weschler and Son, Auctioneers, Washington, D.C., Dec. 4–7, 1975 in The Magazine Antiques, vol. 108, no. 4 (Oct., 1975), p. 581. 20. Archives of

American Art; for the complete text, see Naeve, Krimmel, p. 22. 21. See Naeve, Krimmel, p.176, for description of Sketchbook 6, p. 32, and p.177

for illustration of it. 22. For detailed discussion of genre and the humanist theory of painting, of Reynolds, and of these topics in the new nation, see

Ibid., pp. 47–54. 23. The major arguments in the article are quoted in Ibid., p. 59. 24. For discussion of the pictures and illustrations of them, see

Ibid., pp. 69–71, no. 2; pp. 71–73, no. 3. 25. See Ibid., pp. 41–42. 26. For the complete text, see Ibid., pp. 71, 73, no. 3. For a pertinent assessment

of the theme in British art, see Michael Rosenthal, “The Rough and the Smooth: Rural Subjects in Later-Eighteenth-Century Art” in Prospects for the

Nation: Recent Essays in British Landscape, 1750–1880 (Studies in British Art no.4), eds. Michael Rosenthal, Christina Payne, and Scott Wilcox (New

Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 37–59. 27. William Cobbett, A Year’s Residence in the United States of America (New York: Clayton and

Kingsland, 1818), p. 248 (Copy: The Library Company of Philadelphia). For the dates and circumstances of the visit, see the introduction. 28. For the

complete text, see Naeve, Krimmel, pp. 71, 73.


13

James Peale

(American, 1749–1831)

View on the Wissahickon, 1826

Oil on panel, 11 x 16 1 /8 inches

Inscribed on panel verso: (at center in ink, probably by James Peale) “View on the

Wissahickon Painted in 1828/By James Peale Sen. r ”; (at upper left in ink, probably by

Anna Claypoole Peale Staughton) “Property of A. C. Staughton”; (at lower center in ink,

by the same hand) “Painted by James Peale Phila. da 1826;/age of 70”

Label (handwritten in ink) on panel verso: “Mrs. F. F. Peale.”

Provenance: The artist’s daughter Anna Claypoole Peale Staughton (1791–1878);

(probably) James Godman Peale (1823–1891), who married Ellen M. Field

(1827–1902); their son Fulton Field Peale (1848–1896); Mrs. Fulton Field Peale;

(probably) Washington James Peale (1847–1901); (possibly) his wife Mary G. Margery

Peale (1847–1914); Lilian Peale (1871–1927; after 1892 Mrs. Neville J. Rowan); Mary

Peale Rowan (born 1895); Schwarz Gallery by 1976; Connecticut private collection by

1987; Schwarz Gallery, 1998; Pennsylvania private collection, 1998–2003

References: Linda Crocker Simmons, “James Peale: Out of the Shadows,” in The Peale

Family: Creation of a Legacy, 1770–1870, ed. Lillian B. Miller (New York: Abbeville

Press, 1996), pp. 202–19; American Paintings, Philadelphia Collection LXIII

(Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 1998), no. 8 (repro. in color)

Illustrated: Robert Devlin Schwarz, A Gallery Collects Peales, Philadelphia Collection

XXXV (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 1987), p. 57, no. 44 (repro. in color)

Note: This painting retains what appears to be its original frame.

James Peale was born in Chestertown, Maryland, and in 1762, at age 13, became a journeyman in the saddlery business of

his brother, Charles Willson Peale (see plates 3 and 4). This was followed by an apprenticeship to a cabinetmaker in 1765.

About 1769 James joined his brother’s painting studio as a frame maker, painting fitter, and general assistant.

In a letter of 1771, Charles Willson records that his brother was painting by that date. 1 However, James’s early career was

interrupted by the Revolutionary War, during which he quickly rose to first lieutenant in General William Smallwood’s

Maryland regiment. In 1778 he was promoted to captain, and although he resigned his commission the next year, he

remained in the army a while longer, no doubt in response to special pleading from George Washington. After leaving the

army, James moved to Philadelphia, where he lived with Charles Willson’s family until, in 1782, he married Mary C.

Claypoole (1753–1829), sister of the artist James Claypoole (c. 1743–1800).

After the war, faced with difficulties in finding painting commissions, James benefitted from an arrangement (beginning in

1786) whereby he would specialize in painting portrait miniatures in watercolor on ivory while Charles Willson painted lifesize

portraits in oil. James would become known as one of the country’s best miniaturists.

James, like many members of the distinguished Peale family of artists, enjoyed a long life and actively painted to the end.

The range of his output is extraordinary. Although he had also painted in oils even while specializing in miniatures, failing

eyesight caused him to give up miniature painting entirely about 1810. A fine portraitist and one of the founders of the stilllife

tradition in America, he was also an excellent landscapist in the generation before the full-blown emergence of the

Hudson River School. His legacy survived in his children, whom he taught to paint. One daughter, Anna Claypoole Peale

(1791–1878), became one of the best miniaturists of her period; another daughter, Sarah Miriam Peale (1800–1885), is

considered the first professional female artist the country produced.


Charles Willson Peale’s letters contain several references to James painting landscapes. In a letter of May 19, 1788, he discusses

a raffle of James’s landscapes; 2 in the Columbian Magazine, Charles Willson mentions a “variable landscape scene” by James. 3

Charles Coleman Sellers says that James carried out these pictures for Charles Willson. 4 We do know from the contents of an

1820 letter from Charles Willson that landscape painting was a communal activity for the brothers: “My brother is with me,

and I propose to visit Skulkill [sic] the neighborhood of Canal, for the purpose of taking several interesting views.” 5

It was common for James, like other contemporary portraitists, to include either general or specific landscapes in the

background of his paintings of the 1790s, but it would be almost twenty years before his pictures would reveal an emotional

response to the landscape. James’s first “pure” landscape may be the one shown at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

in Philadelphia in 1819: Landscape—Belfield Farm, Near Germantown (no. 86). He would continue to exhibit his landscapes

at the Academy until his death in 1831.

The landscapes that James Peale painted in the 1820s, such as the View on the Wissahickon, had changed considerably from

those he executed in the 1790s, for there is now a sense of enjoyment and excitement about the landscape. The color is in

a higher key, light and shadow form interesting patterns, the figures—even in their genre activity—are integrated into the

composition rather than being merely placed in the setting, and the entire picture has a theme and unity missing from his

earlier landscapes. The final stage of James’s landscape production is marked by dramatic scenes in which he contemplates

man’s place in nature. As Edward J. Nygren comments, James’s earlier landscape work “exudes a sense of rural gentility of

man at ease in an environment of his making,” whereas the late period “speaks for the sublimity of nature where man is a

mute observer of forces beyond his control.” 6

James is known to have painted four views of the Wissahickon (as well as several of the Schuylkill and the Brandywine)

between 1821 and his death. 7 One Wissahickon picture at Swarthmore College and two at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

relate only in subject to this one. Another, however, now in a Philadelphia private collection, is quite similar and may have

been painted at the same time. An oil on canvas of corresponding proportions (15 3 /4 x 22 inches), it is painted from the

same vantage point and has a similar palette and style.

—Linda Crocker Simmons

Notes

1. Charles Willson Peale to Benjamin West, Apr. 20, 1771, in The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, ed. Lillian Miller et al., vol.

1, Charles Willson Peale: The Artist in Revolutionary America, 1735–1791 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1983), p. 95. 2. Charles

Willson Peale, Diary No. 7, June 19, 1788, and June 22, 1788, in Miller, The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, vol. 1, pp. 502,

504. 3. Charles Willson Peale, Columbian Magazine, vol. 3 (1789), pp. 413–16. 4. Charles Coleman Sellers, “James Peale: A Light in Shadow,

1749–1831” in Four Generations of Commissions: The Peale Collection of the Maryland Historical Society, ed. Eugenia Calvert Holland et al. (Baltimore:

The Maryland Historical Society, March 3–June 29, 1975), p. 30. 5. Charles Willson Peale to Rembrandt Peale, July 27, 1820, quoted by Linda

Crocker Simmons, “James Peale: Out of the Shadows,” in The Peale Family: Creation of a Legacy, 1770–1870, ed. Lillian B. Miller (New York: Abbeville

Press, 1996), p. 209. 6. Edward J. Nygren, Views and Visions: American Landscapes before 1830 (Washington, D.C.: The Corcoran Gallery of Art,

1987), p. 74. 7. The author estimated that the total may be about a dozen in a telephone conversation with Robert Schwarz, Sr., July 30, 2003.


14

Thomas Birch

(American, born England, 1779–1851)

Sleigh Ride on a Gray Day, 1832

Oil on canvas, 18 x 27 1 /4 inches

Signed and dated at lower left: “Tho Birch/1832”

Provenance: Mrs. Frederica F. Emert; Mrs. J. Watson Webb; the Shelburne

Museum, Shelburne, Vt.; (Christie’s, New York, May 30, 1986); Schwarz Gallery by

1992; Pennsylvania private collection until 2003

This is the earliest extant “snow piece” by Thomas Birch to which a secure date can be attached. Although Birch painted

winter scenes as early as 1811, none of his early snow pieces have been located. 1 Birch exhibited several sleighing pictures

between 1832 and 1842, 2 including at least thirteen examples based upon a format similar to that seen in this canvas. 3 This

painting may, in fact, have been the canvas exhibited at the Artists’ Fund Society in Philadelphia in 1834 as Snow Piece,

Sleighing Party &c; it may also have been exhibited there in 1835 as Winter Scene. Another artist identified simply as “W.”

(possibly Joshua Shaw [1776–1860]) composed the following poem about the 1835 exhibition in which Birch’s snow scene

figures prominently:

Have you been to the Artists’ Exhibit?

If not, you should go with all expedition.

If you love the fine arts, you will find things there,

That are worth your notice, both rich and rare,

Pictures by masters, old and new,

Deserving an oft repeated view.

Here’s a snow scene of Birch’s so charming, so bold,

So true to all nature, it makes you feel cold. 4

Birch adapted his composition and subject from the work of Dutch artists such as Jan van Goyen (1596–1656), Salomon

van Ruysdael (1602–1670), and Pieter Brueghel the Elder (c. 1525/30–1569). Birch knew compositions by these artists

through prints and likely had seen paintings of winter scenes at the homes of collectors such as Edward L. Carey or Joseph

Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. Birch’s father, the famed artist William Birch (1755–1834), wrote in his manuscript

autobiography that he owned Jan van Goyen’s Winter Scene, which showed figures skating. 5 Thomas Birch’s decision to paint

winter scenes may also have been influenced by the popularity of sleighing and skating in Philadelphia. Francis Baily, an

English traveler, wrote with some surprise of the American mania for sleighing in Journal of a Tour in the Unsettled Parts of

North America in 1796 and 1797:

The amusement of which they seem most passionately fond is that of riding on the snow in what you

would call a sledge, drawn by two horses. It is astonishing to see how anxiously persons of all ages and both

sexes look out for a good fall of snow, that they may enjoy their favorite amusement; and when the happy

time comes, to see how eager they are to engage every sleigh that is to be had . . . . Whilst snow is on the

ground no other carriages are made use of, either for pleasure or service. 6

John Wesley Jarvis (1780–1840), writing to Birch in 1804, echoed Baily’s sentiments. “Sleighing,” he told his friend, “had

been so good here until today that there has been little else done.” 7


Although Birch was occasionally criticized for his choice of subjects and his literalism, the fact that he produced a great

number of similar canvases suggests that there was a market for snow pieces. A general prejudice against the verism of Dutch

landscapes and still lifes nonetheless persisted into the 1840s among many self-styled connoisseurs. The appropriateness of

a winter subject was questioned, for example, in an unidentified newspaper review of the third annual exhibition of the

Artists’ Fund Society in 1837. The critic, identifying himself as “A Lover of the Arts,” 8 nonetheless singled out Birch’s Snow

Scene for hesitant praise:

This looks like a faithful copy from nature, without much choice in the selection of the scene. Nature, at

this season of the year, is not in her most attractive robes, and does not afford much scope for the pencil.

Mr. Birch executes landscapes of this kind with remarkable fidelity; but his home is on the deep. 9

Following the Civil War, however, public opinion had shifted in favor of genre paintings of winter pastimes. Art historian

Henry Tuckerman, writing in 1867 of another artist who specialized in winter scenes, stated that “lovers of art considered

one of Rene [sic] Francois Gignoux’s winter scenes essential to their limited collections; and orders flowed in upon him far

beyond his ability to execute.” 10


Part of the reason for the popularity of winter scenes can be attributed to the sheer number of artists who familiarized the

nineteenth-century public with the aesthetic possibilities of the season. Younger artists of varying degrees of art-historical

significance such as Thomas Doughty (1793–1856), Thomas B. Ashton (active 1835–52), George Robert Bonfield

(1802–1898), Regis François Gignoux (1816–1882), Joseph Morviller (active 1855–70), and Louis Mignot (1831–1870)

were inspired by Birch’s detailed images of snow and sleighing. 11 The American artist most often identified with winter

scenes is George Henry Durrie (1820–1863), and Birch’s influence is unmistakable in Durrie’s remarkably similar

compositions. Durrie, more than anyone else, popularized the format established by Birch through the medium of

lithography. His lithographic reinterpretations of Birch’s work, such as Sleigh Ride on a Gray Day, were issued in great

numbers by Currier and Ives, and proved to be one of the most popular genres among a mass audience.

—Tony Lewis

Notes

1. Birch exhibited winter landscapes at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1811, in 1812 at both the annual and a supplemental exhibition, and in 1813.

He was not the only American artist to exhibit winter scenes before 1830, although they were quite rare. The Baltimore painter Francis Guy

(1760–1820), for example, exhibited Winter Scene in 1811 and a watercolor entitled Winter Scene in Philadelphia—Children Sliding &c by John

Lewis Krimmel (see plate 12) was shown in 1825. 2. Birch again exhibited winter scenes at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1834; and at the Artists

Fund Society in 1835, 1837, 1838, 1840, and 1841. 3. These included Winter Landscape, Signed “T. Birch,” 20 1 /4 x 30 inches, Provenance:

The Zucci Estate, Sewickley, Pa., purchased in 1960 from the estate by Mrs. E. S. Davenport; Winter Landscape, Signed and dated: “T. Birch 1838,”

20 x 30 inches, Provenance: Newhouse Gallery, New York, Harry Shaw Newman Gallery, New York, Winterthur Museum, De., Reproduction:

Art Digest, vol. 22 (Jan. 1, 1948), p. 6; Winter Scene in Pennsylvania, Signed and dated: “T. Birch 1835,” 18 x 27 inches, Provenance: Whitney

Museum of American Art, New York; Winter Scene, 1842, 24 1 /2 x 35 1 /2 inches, Provenance: Chapellier Galleries, New York, Reproduction: Art

Journal, vol. 36 (winter 1976–77), p. 163; Winter Landscape, 18 3 /4 x 26 inches, Reproduction: North Carolinians Collect, Mint Museum of Art,

Charlotte, N. C. (Sept. 12–Nov. 7, 1971), p. 3; Rider on a Snowy Road, 18 x 27 inches, Provenance: Vose Galleries, Boston, R. H. Love Gallery,

Chicago, Reproduction: A Selection of American Paintings (Chicago: R. H. Love Galleries, 1977), p. 60; A Sleighing Party, 1841, Provenance:

Purchased by Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, N. H. in 1963; Winter Scene, 1842, 18 x 27 1 /2 inches, Provenance: Purchased from Harry Shaw

Newman by C. K. Davis, given to Yale in 1947, Reproduction: Antiques, vol. 57 (Feb. 1950), p. 106; Winter in the Country, 17 x 26 1 /2 inches,

Provenance: IBM, Reproduction: American Landscape Art from the Primitive through Inness, Vose Galleries, Boston (summer 1945), p. 21; Winter

Landscape, 11 3 /4 x 8 1 /8 inches, Provenance: Originally thought to be from the Hopkinson Collection; Sleigh Ride in the Country, Signed and dated

“T. Birch 1841,” 20 x 30 inches, Provenance: Charles D. Childs, Boston, 1938, given to Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, by M. M. Karolik, in

1947, Reproduction: New England Genre (Boston: Fogg Art Museum, May 15–Sept. 1, 1939), n.p.; Winter Scene, 18 x 27 inches, Provenance:

Newhouse Galleries, New York, 1933; A Sleighing Party, 1841, Provenance: Purchased by the Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, N. H., 1963.

4. “The Artists’ Fund Society,” for the United States Gazette (Philadelphia), May 13, 1835, in John Neagle Scrapbook, vol. 2. Manuscript owned by

the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 5. “The Life of Wm Russell Birch, Enamel Painter, Written by Himself. With a List of his

Copys in Enamel (by desire) from the Pencil of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Master he Studied under with a short Detail Upon Enamel Painting,” 2

vols., Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 6. Francis Baily, Journal of a Tour in the Unsettled Parts of North America in 1796 and 1797

(London, 1861), p. 121. Quoted in Harold Edward Dickson, John Wesley Jarvis: American Painter, 1780–1840 (New York: New-York Historical

Society, 1949), p. 74. 7. Jarvis to Thomas Birch, Jan. 28, 1804, Hall Park McCullough, New York. Quoted in Dickson, Jarvis, p. 74. Birch and

Francis Guy were the first American artists to show a sustained interest in winter landscapes. Thomas Doughty (1793–1856), Thomas B. Ashton

(active 1835–52), and George Robert Bonfield (1802–1898) were painting such scenes in Philadelphia by 1835. 8. The pseudonym is known to

have been used elsewhere by Birch’s chief competitor, Joshua Shaw. 9. A Lover of the Arts, “Third Annual Exhibition of the Artists’ Fund Society,”

[Unidentified newspaper,1837], John Neagle Scrapbook, vol. 2, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 10. Henry T. Tuckerman, Book of

the Artists (New York: Putnam, 1867), p. 508. Quoted in Martha Hudson, “The American Winter Landscape, 1830–1870,” American Art Review,

vol. 2, no. 1 (Jan.–Feb., 1975), p. 67. 11. See Hudson, “The American Winter Landscape,” pp. 60–78.


15

Attributed to Edward H. Murray

(American, active c. 1856–75)

Fire Engine Panel

Oil on panel, 25 1 /2 x 16 1 /4 inches

Signed and inscribed at lower right: “MURR[AY?] Philada”

In addition to their very real achievements in saving lives and property, volunteer fire companies were a vibrant part of

Philadelphia street life in the nineteenth century. The social aspects of these all-male organizations led to rivalries that often

erupted in violence, one reason that a professional, citywide fire department replaced the volunteer companies in the 1870s.

The volunteer companies first marched in a large parade in Philadelphia in 1832, the centennial of George Washington’s

birth. For the next forty years, the companies competed in the brilliance of their parade regalia—hats, capes, and belts for

the firefighters and decorative panels like this one for their fire engines. The panels, by such Philadelphia painters as John

Archibald Woodside, Sr. (1781–1854), and his sons and David Bustill Bowser (1820–1900), were for parade use and display

and were made to be removed at other times. The slightly bowed, heavy wooden panel of this example suggests that it was

mounted on the side of a hand-pumper, where the shape of the panel had to allow for its placement over a large nut.

The female figure on this panel combines elements of the two figures representing the Schuylkill River, carved by William

Rush (1756–1833) for the Fairmount Waterworks in 1825. Similar iconography is known to have been employed on

decorative objects made for the Schuylkill Hose Company (founded before 1820) and the Fairmount Fire Company

(founded in 1823). Edward H. Murray, to whom this panel is attributed, was an ornamental painter listed in Philadelphia

business directories from 1856 to 1875. 1 No other works by this artist are known.

Note

1. See George C. Groce and David H. Wallace, The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564–1860 (New Haven, Conn.:

Yale University Press, 1957), p. 462.


16

Christian Friedrich Mayr, N.A.

(American, born Bavaria, 1803–1851)

It’s Too Tight, 1837

Oil on canvas, 24 x 21 inches

Signed and dated at lower right (at bottom of door): “C. Mayr 1837”

Provenance: Schwarz Gallery by 1984; Pennsylvania private collection, 1986–2003

Exhibited: National Academy of Design, New York (1837), no. 227

References: Chad Mandeles in William H. Gerdts et al., From All Walks of Life: Paintings of the

Figure from the National Academy of Design (New York: National Academy of Design, 1979), p. 69;

Helene M. Kastinger Riley, “Christian Friedrich Mayr,” The Magazine Antiques, vol. 154, no. 5

(Nov. 1998), pp. 688–95 (repro. p. 694, pl. 9)

The portrait and genre painter Christian Mayr was born in Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany, and probably studied both

with his stepfather, Christian Friedrich Fues (1772–1836), and at the Royal Art Academy in Nuremberg. It is recorded that

he was an architectural painter and a lithographer at Nuremberg in 1823, the same year he entered the Royal Academy in

Munich. Mayr arrived in New York about 1833. In the same year, he exhibited six paintings at the National Academy of

Design. In 1835 he went to Boston, and the following year he went to the South; Mayr finally settled in South Carolina.

In 1838 he became an American citizen in Charleston, where he resided until 1843. While there he also ventured into the

field of daguerreotype photography, advertising “whole length likenesses” on February 13, 1843. In 1844 he went to New

Orleans but returned to New York the next year, where he remained until his death.

Although Mayr painted portraits to earn his living, he is best remembered for his genre scenes depicting humorous events

of everyday life in America. His best-known painting is a large canvas of black people dancing in a hotel kitchen, titled

Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs, executed in 1838 and now in the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. 1 That

work, like this one, dates from his Charleston period. Mayr exhibited regularly at the National Academy of Design and was

elected an Academician in 1849. Also in New York, he exhibited at the American Academy of the Fine Arts in 1835 and at

the Apollo Association in 1839 and 1840. The Apollo Association purchased three of his paintings in 1839, and the

American Art-Union bought ten of his works for distribution among its members between 1847 and 1851. His painting

Reading the News is in the permanent collection of the National Academy of Design and his work also was exhibited in the

Academy’s Centennial Exhibition in 1925.

Note

1. See Elizabeth Johns, American Genre Painting: The Politics of Everyday Life (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991), pp. 114, 127.


17

Thomas Sully

(American, born England, 1783–1872)

William Wagner (1796–1885), 1836

Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches

Recorded: Edward Biddle and Mantle Fielding, The Life and Works of Thomas Sully

(Charleston, S.C.: Garnier and Co., 1969), p. 306, no. 1867

Thomas Sully was one of the most skilled and prolific portrait painters in America in the nineteenth century. Sully emigrated

from England in 1792 with his actor-parents, who came to the United States under the sponsorship of his father’s brotherin-law,

a theater manager. Sully grew up in cities all along the East Coast, but he received drawing instruction at the

Reverend Robert Smith’s school in Charleston, South Carolina, where he also studied with his brother-in-law, the Frenchborn

miniaturist and drawing teacher, Jean Belzons (active in the United States, 1794–1812). Sully began painting

professionally with his brother Lawrence Sully (1769–1804) in both Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia. In 1807 Sully went

to Boston to visit the famous painter Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828), but by 1808 had settled in Philadelphia with his wife,

Sarah Annis, at Sixth and Minor streets. Sully subsequently moved to 11 South Fifth Street, where he would remain until

his death. To refine his artistic skills, however, in 1809 Sully traveled to England, where he received the advice of Sir William

Beechey (1753–1839), Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830), and Benjamin West (1738–1820).

In his 70-year career, Sully painted over 2,000 portraits, including those of some of the most distinguished personages of

his time: Fanny Kemble, Andrew Jackson, William Strickland, and even Queen Victoria. He was made an honorary member

of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the National Academy of

Design in New York. Sully had numerous students and was an astute businessman, establishing one of Philadelphia’s first

commercial galleries, in partnership with the framer James S. Earle.

The subject of this portrait, “Professor” William Wagner, was a wealthy Philadelphia merchant who traded in coal and

lumber throughout North and South America. He was also a noted amateur scientist who amassed a substantial collection

of natural history specimens, including minerals, fossils, sea shells, and animal skeletons. A philanthropist who was

committed to educating the public, Wagner began to give free lectures on natural science at his home, Elm Grove.

In 1855 he founded the Wagner Free Institute of Science and obtained permission from municipal authorities to use Spring

Garden Hall, on the corner of Spring Garden and Thirteenth streets, as a place to house his collection and library and to hold

educational programs. In order to create a permanent home for the Institute, Wagner constructed a three-story exhibition hall

on the southwest corner of Montgomery Avenue and Seventeenth Street in 1865. 1 The Wagner Free Institute of Science remains

at this location, and it is noteworthy as having the oldest program devoted to free adult education in the United States.

Commissioned by a Philadelphia merchant named George Nugent, this portrait was commenced on July 1 and completed

on July 19, 1836, for a fee of $150. Wagner had commissioned Sully to paint a portrait of Nugent in 1827. 2 The exact

relationship of Wagner and Nugent is unknown, but it is likely that they were business associates and friends. This painting,

the earliest known likeness of Wagner, is a typical example of Sully’s bust portraiture of the mid-1830s.

Notes

—Robert Wilson Torchia

1. For information on the Institute, see J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609–1884 (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts

and Co., 1884), vol. 2, pp. 1225–27, and Morris J. Vogel, Cultural Connections: Museums and Libraries of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley

(Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991), p. 60. 2. Sully’s portrait of Nugent is illustrated and discussed in American Paintings, Philadelphia

Collection LXVIII (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 2001), no. 13 (repro. in color).


18

Manuel Jaochim de França

(American, born Portugal, 1808–1865)

Wilson McGunnegle (1829–1863), 1846

Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 3 /4 inches

Signed and dated at lower left: “M de Franca/pinxit 1846”

Inscribed on stretcher verso: “WILSON McGUNNEGLE/MARRIED ISABELLA STEELE RAY”

Although Manuel Jaochim de França was a prominent portraitist who secured numerous commissions in Philadelphia

throughout the 1830s and early 1840s, little is known about his career. 1 He was born in Portugal, the eldest son of a

wealthy wine merchant, and studied at the Art Academy in Lisbon. Probably fleeing political turmoil following the death

of King John IV in 1826, the young artist immigrated to the United States and settled in Philadelphia. De França

established a studio at the northeast corner of Sixth and Spruce streets and exhibited several portraits at the Pennsylvania

Academy of the Fine Arts in 1830. He soon befriended Philadelphia’s senior portrait painter, Thomas Sully (1783–1872),

and other prominent artists such as John Neagle (1796–1865), Joshua Shaw (c. 1777–1860), and the engraver John Sartain

(1808–1897). 2 Like his associates, de França was a proponent of artists’ rights and became one of the founders of the Artists’

Fund Society in 1835; he exhibited sporadically with the group until 1844. De França also exhibited at both the Apollo

Association and the National Academy of Design in New York City (1838–41).

De França married and in 1842 moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he painted altarpieces for churches. About two

years later, possibly after traveling in Kentucky and Tennessee, he settled in St. Louis, Missouri. De França embarked on an

extremely successful career there, ultimately becoming the city’s most popular portraitist. In 1859 he became one of the

founders of the Western Academy of Art, the first art institution west of the Mississippi River; the following year he

exhibited seventeen paintings in the group’s first annual exhibition. De França’s declining health forced him into

semiretirement, and he died in St. Louis on August 22, 1865.

This formal portrait of seventeen-year-old Wilson McGunnegle dates from de França’s early years in St. Louis. The artist

seems to have been particularly adept at representing children and young people, and he often placed his subjects in

elaborate settings, as in this painting. 3 Although de França was clearly influenced by the British painterly technique practiced

in Philadelphia by Sully and Neagle, de França’s slightly more detail-oriented style may reflect the vestiges of his Portuguese

training. The round hull and high stern of the three-masted, square-rigged vessel in the left background suggest that it is a

bark. The vessel’s presence in the painting probably indicates that the sitter’s family, whose name appears in St. Louis marine

insurance records, was involved in shipping on the Mississippi River. The stormy sky may allude to the hazards faced by

youth in the transition to adulthood. In fact, Lieutenant Commander Wilson McGunnegle died in the Civil War, during

which he served the Union as commander of an ironclad vessel known as “the Old War Horse.” He is buried in Bellefontaine

Cemetery in St. Louis.

—Robert Wilson Torchia

Notes

1. The most extensive biography of the artist is Karen McCoskey Goering, “Manuel de Franca: St. Louis Portrait Painter,” Gateway Heritage:

Quarterly Journal of the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, vol. 3, no. 3 (winter 1982–83), pp. 30–35. The largest concentration of his portraits

is owned by the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis. 2. The earliest source of information on de França is John Sartain, Reminiscences of a

Very Old Man (New York; D. Appleton and Co., 1899), p. 143. 3. See, for example, Matthew Hinzinga Messchert (1839; Philadelphia Museum

of Art); this portrait is illustrated and discussed in William Gerdts, Revealed Masters: 19th-Century American Art (New York: American Federation

of the Arts, 1974), pp. 7–8.


19

Samuel Bell Waugh, A.N.A.

(American, 1814–1885)

Miss Jane Mercer, 1840

Oil on canvas, 40 1 /2 x 29 1 /2 inches

Label (handwritten in ink) on stretcher verso: “Miss Jane Mercer/by An American

artist named Waugh/painted at Naples/1840”

Provenance: Schwarz Gallery by 1986; acquired from a Seattle, Wash., dealer who

acquired it from a member of the Mercer family who settled in Washington;

Pennsylvania private collection, 1986–2003

Note: This portrait retains its original frame.

Samuel Bell Waugh was born in Mercer, Pennsylvania, and as a young man studied drawing with John Rubens Smith

(1775–1849). He lived in Montreal for a time and exhibited portraits at the Society of Artists and Amateurs in Toronto. He

continued his study of art in England, France, and Italy. Although Waugh spent short periods of time in Buffalo, New York;

New York City; and Bordentown, New Jersey, his primary residence for most of his career was Philadelphia. His panoramas

of Italy were exhibited there and contributed greatly to his reputation, leading to numerous portrait commissions from the

city’s elite. Waugh’s son Frederick (1861–1940) and his daughter Ida (died 1919) both became professional artists.

Waugh exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum and the National Academy of Design in New York, which elected him an

Associate Member in 1845 and an Honorary Member, Professional, in 1847. He also participated in exhibitions of the

Artists’ Fund Society and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. His portraits are in the New-York

Historical Society in New York; the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut; the Pennsylvania Academy of

the Fine Arts in Philadelphia; and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

This dashing portrait was painted during the eight years Waugh spent in Italy, but its fluid brushwork and vivid contrasts of light

and dark are distinguishing features of the Romantic, English-inspired portrait style shared by Waugh’s Philadelphia

contemporaries, Thomas Sully (see plate 17), John Neagle (1796–1865), and Manuel de França (see plate 18). It is presumed

that Miss Jane Mercer was a member of the distinguished family for whom Mercer, Pennsylvania, Waugh’s birthplace, was named.


20

Edward Edmondson, Jr.

(American, 1830–1883)

A Basket of Peaches

Oil on canvas, 16 3 /4 x 21 inches (oval)

Inscribed on canvas verso: "original by Edward Edmondson Dayton O."

Label (framer, printed) on frame verso: “[missing] CURRIER &/IMPORTERS

OF/PICTUR[ES]/AND PICTURE FRAMES./211 Kearny Street,/Four Doors

North of Sutter.” (Note: Although Edmondson’s name is missing from the label and

the name of the town is not given, the artist’s father was a currier and there are

Kearny and Sutter streets in his native Dayton, Ohio; this is probably the label of

the senior Edmondson’s business, suggesting that the frame is original.)

Edward Edmondson, Jr., was the son of a Dayton, Ohio, leather goods and used-furniture dealer, to whom he was

apprenticed until he was twenty. The artist’s obituary mentions a single lesson with a local portrait painter as his only formal

training in art. A Dayton business directory lists Edmondson as a portrait painter for the first time in 1858. 1 It is likely that

he received additional formal training between that date and the end of his apprenticeship eight years earlier, possibly from

Charles Soule, Sr. (1809–1869), who taught other local artists their craft. 2 Edmondson remained in Dayton for most of his

career. In 1880 he moved to California, where he died three years later.

Edmondson painted portraits, genre pictures, landscapes, and still lifes. The portraits, particularly, are quite conventional;

the still lifes are more distinctive. In American Still-Life Painting, William H. Gerdts and Russell Burke write: “The subject

matter of Edmondson’s still lifes is probably more unusual than that of any other mid-nineteenth-century painter. His

pictures include a California Pepper Tree, Paw-paws, a Lettuce Leaf, and a California Snow Plant.” Gerdts and Burke go on

to describe a painting of a “strangely shaped piece of watermelon.” 3 Even when Edmondson paints more common fruits such

as apples and peaches, their arrangement often gives his compositions a palpable tension. In 1972 the Dayton Art Institute,

which then owned twenty-nine of Edmondson’s pictures (about half of those then known), mounted a comprehensive

exhibition, The Paintings of Edward Edmondson (January 8–February 13). The catalogue, by Bruce H. Evans, includes a

horizontally oriented, oval oil painting of peaches with nearly the same dimensions as the painting illustrated here. 4

Notes

1. Bruce H. Evans, The Paintings of Edward Edmondson (Dayton, Ohio: The Dayton Art Institute, 1972), p. 4. 2. Evans., The Paintings of Edward

Edmondson, p. 5. 3. William H. Gerdts and Russell Burke, American Still-Life Painting (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971), p. 72. 4. Still Life

with Peaches and Cherries (oil on canvas, 14 1 /2 x 21 inches; private collection). Evans, The Paintings of Edward Edmondson, p. 23, no. 25.


Alfred Thompson Bricher, A.N.A.

(American, 1837–1908)

21

Coastal View with a Rowboat

Oil on prepared board, 9 1 /2 x 20 inches

Signed at lower left: “ATBRICHER [initials conjoined]”

22

Coastal View

Oil on prepared board, 10 x 20 inches

Signed at lower left: “ATBRICHER [initials conjoined]”

The term Luminism was first used in 1954 by the pioneer historian of American art John I. H. Baur to describe the work

of American landscape and marine painters working later than those who founded the first American landscape school,

commonly called the Hudson River School. 1 The Luminists were most interested in depicting atmosphere and capturing the

effects of light and usually worked in a horizontal format. Paintings that stressed horizontality were well-suited to coastal

views, and such “insistently lateral” 2 compositions were the speciality of Alfred Thompson Bricher. His beach scenes of

Narragansett, Rhode Island; coastal New Hampshire; and Grand Manan Island (off Canada) are noted for their warm, hazy

skies and cool, translucent water.

Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Bricher began painting part-time at the Lowell Institute while he pursued a business

career in Boston. He turned to painting full-time in 1858, working in Boston and Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1871,

he moved to Staten Island, New York, where he remained for the rest of his life, painting oils and watercolors along the New

England coast during the summer months. In 1973, the Indianapolis Museum of Art mounted a retrospective exhibition,

Alfred Thompson Bricher, 1837–1908, with a catalogue by Jeffrey R. Brown.

Notes

1. John Wilmerding, American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850–1875, by John Wilmerding et al. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art,

1980), p. 12. 2. Wilmerding, American Light, p. 131.


23

Herman Herzog

(American, born Germany, 1832–1932)

In the Woods

Oil on canvas, 27 x 22 inches

Signed at lower right “H. Herzog”

Note: This painting retains what appears to be its original frame.

For most of his very long—eighty-five years—and productive career travel was Herman Herzog’s greatest inspiration. Born in

Bremen, Germany, Herzog entered the Düsseldorf Academy at the age of seventeen; Andreas Achenbach (1815–1910) was

the teacher who had the most lasting impact on his painting style. Another teacher was the Norwegian artist Hans Frederick

Gude (1825–1903), who encouraged his young student to visit Norway. Herzog’s 1855 visit to that country awakened him

to the sublime and wild aspects of nature. He exhibited widely on the continent, winning awards in Paris, Liège, and Brussels.

Disturbed by the political situation in Germany, Herzog immigrated to the United States sometime in the late 1860s or

early 1870s, settling in West Philadelphia, where he and his wife raised two sons. Even before his arrival, his paintings had

been shown in several of the annual exhibitions of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he

continued to show through 1880.

Herzog’s first recorded American sketching trip took him through the Northeast in 1871. Trips like this one were an

important aspect of his art, for it was his practice to refer back to his travel sketches, including those from his European

years, throughout his career. Herzog traveled widely in the United States and was inspired by the great variety of scenery,

painting many views of the Pennsylvania countryside, the West—especially its National Parks, eastern coastal views as far

north as Maine, and lush landscapes in Florida, where he often visited his son between the mid-1890s and about 1910.

Herzog’s work was well received, and his profitable investment of the income from the sale of his paintings allowed him to

stop selling his art, which remained largely in his family’s possession. The Schwarz Gallery has been collecting paintings by

Herzog for years, and in December 1979 published a catalogue devoted to his work: Herman Herzog (1832–1932). The

Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, held a major Herzog exhibition in 1992; the exhibition

catalogue, American Paintings of Herman Herzog, includes an essay by Donald S. Lewis, Jr.


24

William Trost Richards

(American, 1833–1905)

Thunder Clouds, Long Island

Oil on prepared board, 10 x 20 inches

Signed at lower left: “Wm. T. Richards”

Label (handwritten in ink) on board verso: “Thunder Clouds”

Provenance: Sarah Roberts acquired this painting from Richards (a distant family

connection) shortly before her marriage on a visit to Mattituck, Suffolk Co., Long

Island, where she saw the artist at work on it; to her son, Haverford, Pa.

William Trost Richards studied in his native Philadelphia with the German landscape painter Paul Weber (1823–1916) and

in Florence, Rome, and Paris. After returning from his second trip to Europe in 1867, Richards began painting the seascapes

and coastal views of New Jersey and Long Island that would occupy him for so much of his career. In 1875 he purchased a

summer home in Newport, Rhode Island, and in 1882 he built a house, Gray Cliff, overlooking Narragansett Bay and the

ocean beyond. Richards now increasingly chose New England subjects, displaying a particular fondness for views of the open

sea with just a faint indication of the coastline in the foreground. Later in his life he made frequent trips to England, but

he never strayed from the type of painting for which he was best known: tight, realistic, sometimes dramatic coastal scenes

executed in the luminous and almost transparent palette of the Pre-Raphaelites. After selling his home in Newport, Richards

spent his final years at “Oldmixon” in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Richards was a member of the American Water Color Society and the National Art Club, both in New York. He exhibited

at various museums and art associations throughout the United States as well as at the Royal Academy in London and won

numerous prizes. The majority of his paintings were shown at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia

from 1852 until the final year of his life. He also exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, where he

won a medal. Today his paintings are in museums and private collections throughout the United States.


25

Frederick James

(American, 1845–1907)

The Mischianza, 1881

Oil on canvas, 35 x 49 1 /4 inches

Signed, dated, and inscribed at lower left: “FRED JAMES/Phila da 1881”

Provenance: The Rittenhouse Club, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia; Schwarz

Gallery by 1992; Pennsylvania private collection until 2003

Frederick James specialized in genre scenes of eighteenth-century subjects, figures in interiors, and religious subjects. After

attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, he went to Paris, where he studied with Jean-Léon

Gérôme (1824–1904). It may have been in Paris that James developed his interest in genre subjects. Upon his return to the

United States, he settled in New York City, where he lived until sometime before 1907, when he died in Quebec, Canada.

James was a frequent exhibitor at the National Academy of Design in New York (1874–98), the Pennsylvania Academy of

the Fine Arts (1876–91), and the Brooklyn Art Association (1893, 1894).

The word mischianza, or meschianza, is derived from the conflation of the Italian words mescere (to mix) and mischiare (to

mingle). The Mischianza was a medley of events held at Walnut Grove in Philadelphia on May 18, 1778, to celebrate the

departure of General William Howe, commander-in-chief of the British army in Philadelphia, for his native England.

Howe’s officers each contributed 140 pounds to pay for the affair, which included a procession of decorated boats that

advanced up the Delaware River and docked near Green Street Wharf, a jousting tournament on a nearby green, an elaborate

banquet, dancing, and a colorful display of fireworks. Each guest received an elaborate invitation featuring the Howe family

crest and a sun setting into the sea that was mounted with a streamer bearing the motto Luceo Discendens, Aucto Splendore

Resurgam (“He is shining as he sets, but he shall rise again in great splendor”).

James’s painting depicts a group of men, dressed as knights, departing for the Mischianza. Captain John Andre was one of

four officers selected to manage the entertainment. In his account of the event, seven young American women were chosen

to be the knights’ ladies: “They wore gauze Turbans spangled and edged with gold and Silver, on the right Side a veil of the

same kind hung as low as the waist and the left side of the Turban was enriched with pearl and tassels of gold or Silver and

crested with a feather.” Their dresses were of white silk with long sleeves and sashes tied in large bows on the left, “trimmed,

spangled, and fringed according to the Colours of the Knight.” The knights’ garb was the same as “that worn in the days of

Henry the 4th of France”: a white satin vest; full pink sleeves with straps of white satin laced with silver and edged in black;

a large pink scarf fastened on the right shoulder with a white bow across the chest; a pink and white sword belt, also laced

with silver and black; and a white satin hat ornamented with red, white, and black plumes. To joust against these seven white

knights were seven black knights, dressed in black satin with orange and gold trimmings. 1

One month after the Mischianza, the Americans marched in and reclaimed Philadelphia, leaving the British “knights” barely

time to escape. Later, when the American officers under George Washington’s command had a ball in honor of the French

officers who had aided them, the American ladies who had attended the Mischianza were at first denied invitations. They

were eventually included, although hesitantly, and the memory of the event lasted for many years.


The house shown in this painting is known as John Wister’s Grumblethorpe. Built in 1744, Grumblethorpe is located at

5267 Germantown Avenue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Originally intended to serve as a summer home, it

eventually became Wister’s primary residence and was referred to for many years as “Wister’s Big House.” During the

Revolution, while the British occupied Philadelphia under Howe, General James Agnew had his headquarters for a time at

Grumblethorpe, which he may have chosen for its prominence and the fact that it was easily identifiable. James’s choice of

Wister’s house for his painting of the Mischianza may be based on this historical fact.

In 1808 the main house underwent many changes, chief of which was the removal of the balcony on the second-floor street

side and the substitution of the Federal-style doorway seen in this painting for the original. Charles Jones Wister, Jr., who wrote

a two-volume history of Grumblethorpe, disliked the additions and would not allow any artist to paint the Federal facade as

shown in James’s painting, but supplied a model of the early facade to those depicting it. No major changes have been made

since 1819. In the 1940s G. Edwin Brumbaugh restored some of the rooms to their original eighteenth-century design and the

Federal doorway was removed and restored to its original style. Grumblethorpe, which is now maintained as a museum by the

Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, is one of the most important Colonial houses in Germantown, not

only because of the eminence of the Wister family, but also because it represents the final stage in the development of

Germantown domestic architecture.

Note

1. John W. Jackson, With the British Army in Philadelphia: 1777–1778 (San Rafael, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1979), pp. 240–42.


26

Edward Lamson Henry, N.A.

(American, 1841–1919)

An Old Philadelphia Interior (probably 616 Spruce Street), 1870

Oil on paper, mounted on canvas; 9 3 /4 x 7 inches

Signed and dated at lower left: “ELH.70”

Provenance: Schwarz Gallery by 1992; Pennsylvania private collection until 2003

Reference: Elizabeth McCausland, The Life and Work of Edward Lamson Henry,

N.A., 1841–1919 (Albany: University of the State of New York for the New York

State Museum, 1945)

Three of Edward Lamson Henry’s major Colonial Revival genre pictures are set in the interiors of surviving eighteenthcentury

houses in the Philadelphia area: Cliveden and Stenton, both in Germantown, and Hope Lodge in Whitemarsh.

Henry painted other exteriors and interiors in Philadelphia and its environs throughout his career, including one of his

earliest recorded works, Barnyard Scene near Philadelphia (1859; location unknown) 1 and Independence Hall (1871; location

unknown). 2 Henry’s widow, Frances Henry, wrote in “A Memorial Sketch” that Henry and his friend William Kulp, an

antiquarian, were involved in restoration work at Independence Hall in 1870, 3 the year Kulp died from tuberculosis. 4 Henry

had first met Kulp in 1858, when he went to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the

two young men were fellow lodgers at 702 Chestnut Street. A house that Kulp rented at 616 Spruce Street during the 1860s

is believed to have been the setting for several of Henry’s Colonial Revival interiors, including this one. 5 A photograph of

Henry’s painting Old Clock on the Stairs (1868; Shelburne Museum, Vermont), in the Henry Collection at the New York

State Museum in Albany, is inscribed: “A Study after Nature in lower Spruce Street, Philadelphia, in 1866.” 6 William Kulp’s

aunt, Hannah Tyson, is believed to have been the model for the elderly woman in Quaker dress in the painting illustrated

here, as well as Old Clock on the Stairs and a third picture, Old Woman Reading (1868; location unknown). 7

Notes

1. Elizabeth McCausland, The Life and Work of Edward Lamson Henry, N.A., 1841–1919 (Albany: University of the State of New York for the New

York State Museum, 1945), p. 149, no. 9. 2. McCausland, Henry, p. 164, no. 91. 3. Frances Livingston Wells (Mrs. E. L.) Henry, “A Memorial

Sketch: E. L. Henry, N.A., His Life and His Work,” in McCausland, Henry, p. 324. 4. Information about William Kulp (c. 1829–1870) given here

is courtesy of Mary Louise Fleisher. 5. Although Henry believed that the house at 616 Spruce Street was a colonial structure, it was built between

Jan. 1804 and Feb. 1808 for Joseph Barger, a lumber merchant. In the 1860s William Kulp rented the house from the trustees of the estate of the Rev.

Robert Blackwell; he may also have had use of furniture that belonged to the estate. At the time of his death at the age of 41, Kulp owned nothing of

value. He was Philadelphia agent for the sale of Henry’s paintings (see n. 6); he and Henry were both agents for antiques collectors. Both men were

involved in historic preservation and reconstructions; Kulp also made reproduction furniture for Henry. Information courtesy of Mary Louise Fleisher.

6. See McCausland, Henry, p. 160, no. 70 (repro. p. 304, fig. 214). This painting, or another version of it, was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy

of the Fine Arts in 1867 (no. 255), “For sale. W. Kulp.” Kulp’s name is given after the titles of a number of Henry’s paintings in the Academy’s Exhibition

Record for several years after Henry left Philadelphia in 1860; presumably Kulp acted as Henry’s agent in Philadelphia. Peter Hastings Falk, ed., The

Annual Exhibition Record of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1807–1870 (Madison, Conn.: Soundview Press, 1988), p. 97. 7. Henry

identified her in a 1917 letter to the owner of a second version of Old Clock on the Stairs, quoted in Nancy C. Muller, Paintings and Drawings at the

Shelburne Museum (Shelburne, Vt.: Shelburne Museum, 1976), p. 76. A photograph of her in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

is inscribed on its reverse: “This photograph of Aunt Hannah Tyson was made by John Moran 1866 in the garden of William Kulp’s residence 616

Spruce St. The old carved oak chair was loaned by Miss Anna Watson whose father wrote Watson’s Annals an antiquarian who received valuable points

from Kulp regarding old time people in the city and environs.” Courtesy of Mary Louise Fleisher.


27

Edward Lamson Henry, N.A.

(American, 1841–1919)

Von Steuben’s Tavern, 1909

Oil on canvas, 17 x 32 inches

Signed and dated at lower right: “E.L. Henry 1909”

Provenance: Schwarz Gallery by 1976; Pennsylvania private collection, 1992–2003

Exhibited: The Cragsmoor Free Library, Cragsmoor, New York, E. L. Henry’s Country Life: An Exhibition

(July 3–19, 1981); traveled to the New York State Museum (Aug. 12–Sept. 8, 1981); the Munson-

Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York (Dec, 20, 1981–Jan. 24, 1982); the Roberson Center for the

Arts and Sciences, Binghampton, New York (Feb. 7–Mar. 14, 1982); Guild Hall, East Hampton, New

York (Mar. 27–May 5, 1982); the Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey (May 22–July 4, 1982); repro.

in color in cat., p. 13; The R. W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, La., The Works of Edward Lamson

Henry: Recollections of a Time Gone by (Sept. 13–Nov. 8, 1987), repro. in cat., p. 49

Reference: Elizabeth McCausland, The Life and Work of Edward Lamson Henry, N.A., 1841–1919

(Albany: University of the State of New York for the New York State Museum, 1945)

The genre and landscape painter Edward Lamson Henry was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He grew up in New York City,

and at age seventeen he began studying art in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and with F. Weber

(n.d.). From 1860 to 1862 he was in Paris, where he studied with Charles Louis Suisse (1846–1906), Charles Gleyre

(1806–1874), and Gustave Courbet (1819–1877). When he returned to the United States, he settled in New York City and

began his career as a professional artist. In 1864 he served in the Civil War as a captain’s clerk for the Union. He returned to

New York and set up a studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building, where he remained until 1885. His many patrons included

the Union League Club of New York, the painter Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), and James W. Drexel. Henry maintained a

summer studio in Cragsmoor in southeastern New York State, which became an important artists’ colony, attracting painters like

J. G. Brown (1831–1913), Charles Courtney Curran (1861–1942), and George Inness (1825–1894).

During the first ten years that Henry spent at Cragsmoor, near Ellenville in Ulster County, he painted a variety of rural subjects,

whereas after 1890 he concentrated on canal scenes. His first dated canal sketch (1890) shows the Delaware and Hudson Canal at

Ellenville. In the summer, people would picnic along the canal or ride in canal boats towed by horses. In addition to his canal scenes,

Henry delighted in depicting early American transportation by stagecoach, horse and buggy, and railroad. This interest developed early

in his career, as can be seen in his sketches of horses, oxcarts, bicycles, and steamboats, executed before 1860. Henry also collected

period clothing, antique furniture, and carriages that he used in his historical genre scenes. The bulk of his costume collection was

given to the Brooklyn Museum in 1921, and his carriages went to the Johnstown (New York) Historical Society in 1922.

Henry received numerous awards, including honorable mention at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889 and the World’s

Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. He exhibited regularly at the National Academy of Design, the Century Association,

the Lotus Club, the Salmagundi Club, the Artists’ Fund Society, and the New-York Historical Society, all in New York City. The

Pennsylvania Academy showed his paintings from 1859 to 1868 and from 1877 to 1879. Henry’s paintings are now in the

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, the Albany Institute of History and Art,

and the New York State Museum in Albany, and the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, as well as in numerous private collections.

The location of the tavern depicted here has not been determined; it could be one of several spots along the East Coast where Henry

traveled and worked. Numerous taverns and inns were named for Baron Friedrich von Steuben (1730–1794), who reported to

Washington at Valley Forge in 1777 and thereafter was largely responsible for training and reorganizing the Continental Army. After

the Revolution, the Prussian-born Von Steuben (who became an American citizen in 1783) was given property on the Hackensack

River at New Bridge, New Jersey (his house now belongs to the Bergen County Historical Society). He later moved to New York City,

where he became one of the most popular figures in the social life of the city and state. Von Steuben is best remembered for his

Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, the military handbook of the Continental Army.


28

Howard Pyle

(American, 1853–1911)

The Tory Refugees, 1901

Oil on canvas, 24 x 16 inches

Signed, dated, and inscribed at lower right: “H. Pyle./Copyright 1901 Harper & Bros.”

Inscribed in crayon on canvas verso: “The Tory Refugees/Colonies and Nation/Part

VIII” (Note: The inscription indicates that this painting was intended to be an

illustration for Woodrow Wilson’s “Colonies and Nation” [part 8] in Harper’s New

Monthly Magazine [Aug. 1901]; however, it did not appear in part 8 or any of the

ten other parts of the series.)

References: Jane Allen Gregory et al., Howard Pyle: Diversity in Depth (Wilmington:

Delaware Art Museum, Mar. 5–Apr. 15, 1973); Henry C. Pitz, Howard Pyle: Writer,

Illustrator, Founder of the Brandywine School (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1975)

Note: This painting retains what appears to be its original frame.

Before motion pictures and television, and well into the twentieth century, illustrated daily newspapers, weekly and monthly

magazines, and books conveyed visual popular culture, literature, and entertainment into almost every American home.

Hundreds of artists provided millions of images, and evolving printing technology multiplied the options for their

production and distribution. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were truly the Golden Age of American

illustration, and Howard Pyle, through the amazing volume of his published illustrations and his extraordinary influence on

his students and the many others who emulated his work, was undoubtedly the period’s preeminent American illustrator.

Born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1853, Howard Pyle commuted to Philadelphia to study art with F. A. van der Wielen

(n.d.) while still working in his father’s leather business. When Scribner’s Monthly Magazine first published one of his

illustrations in 1876, Pyle moved to New York, where most of the magazines that would publish his work were based. There

he continued his training at the Art Students League. In 1880 Pyle returned to Wilmington, and in 1894 he started teaching

illustration at the newly founded Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry (now Drexel University) in Philadelphia.

The Drexel Institute gave selected students scholarships to work with Pyle at his summer studio in Chadds Ford,

Pennsylvania, near Wilmington. In 1900 he built a studio on Franklin Street in Wilmington and confined his teaching to

Wilmington and Chadds Ford. His most celebrated students were Frank Schoonover (1877–1972) and Newell Convers

Wyeth (1882–1945), leaders of what came to be known as the Brandywine School. The influence of these artists was

international and went beyond illustration, largely because of the fame of the paintings of N. C. Wyeth’s son Andrew (born

1917) and his grandson Jamie (born 1946). Howard Pyle died suddenly in Florence, Italy, in 1911.

Pyle executed two basic types of illustration: black-and-white line drawings that, when reproduced, were reminiscent of the

engravings of Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), and oil paintings that were photographically reproduced in black and white or

color. Pyle’s style was influenced by the English Pre-Raphaelite artists; his page design owes much to the work of William

Morris (1834–1896). Both artists frequently illustrated medieval subjects, and Pyle often wrote the stories—especially those

for young people—himself.

Pyle also produced a second type of illustration—oils that were painted to meet the requirements of the developing

technologies of photographic reproduction and color printing. Those intended to be reproduced in black and white, like

The Tory Refugees, illustrated here, were painted in monochrome. Many of the stories Pyle illustrated for magazines were


historical fiction set in America in the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Federal periods, part of the Colonial Revival that was

also shaping much of the architecture and decorative arts of the period in the United States. The painters Edward Lamson

Henry (see plates 26 and 27) and Frederick James (see plate 25) were also part of the Colonial Revival.

In addition to popular stories of America’s past, Pyle was called upon to illustrate nonfiction articles by academic historians

published for a mass audience in Scribner’s Monthly Magazine (which became The Century Magazine in 1881), Harper’s

Weekly, and Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, among others. The Tory Refugees is an illustration for part 8 of Woodrow

Wilson’s “Colonies and Nation,” an eleven-part series of articles that appeared in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine between

January and November 1901. Woodrow Wilson taught history at Bryn Mawr and then at Princeton, where he was president,

1902–10. He was the Democratic governor of New Jersey, 1910–12, and went from writing history to making it as president

of the United States, 1913–21. His two terms encompassed World War I and ended in an incapacitating stroke.


29

Katherine Pyle

(American, 1865–1938)

Hyrroken Launches the Ship “Ringhorn,” c. 1930

Oil on prepared board, 18 x 14 inches

Provenance: Schwarz Gallery by 1980; private collection, 1985–2001

Reference: Rowland Elzea and Elizabeth H. Hawkes, eds., A Small School of Art: The Students of

Howard Pyle (Wilmington: Delaware Art Museum, 1980), pp. 152–53

Illustrated: Katherine Pyle (author and illustrator), Tales from Norse Mythology (Philadelphia:

Lippincott, 1930), p. 223

Katherine Pyle, the youngest sister of Howard Pyle (see plate 28), was encouraged and influenced by her brother, with whom she

shared a studio on Franklin Street in her native Wilmington, Delaware. She received her formal art training in Philadelphia at the

School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design) and the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry (now

Drexel University), where she took the illustration class taught by her brother. She wrote and illustrated children’s books, fairy tales,

and stories based on mythology—about thirty books in all. She also did illustrations for the Atlantic Monthly (which published her

poem “A Piping Shepherd” when she was still a child), 1 the Ladies’ Home Journal, Harper’s Bazaar, and Child Life.

Note

1. Elizabeth H. Hawkes, A Small School of Art: The Students of Howard Pyle, ed. Rowland Elzea and Elizabeth H. Hawkes (Wilmington: Delaware

Art Museum, 1980), pp. 152.


30

Edward Berge

(American, 1876–1924)

Wildflower (fountain), modeled 1915, cast 1947 or later

Bronze with original green patina; 42 inches high, base 13 inches wide x 14 inches deep

Signed and stamped on base: “E. Berge ©, cast by Roman Bronze Works, Inc., NY” 1

The Beaux-Arts style that dominated American architecture in the early twentieth

century often featured sculpture: as architectural ornament, as free-standing

decoration in interiors, and as important elements of private gardens, public

parks, and city squares. The international expositions of the period were

showcases for sculpture, and Edward Berge won awards at several of these: a

bronze medal at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901, bronze and gold

medals at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis in 1904, a bronze medal at the

Santiago Exposition in Chile in 1910, and a bronze medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition

in San Francisco—where a version of this fountain was exhibited—in 1915. He also exhibited

at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the National Academy of

Design in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

After studying at the Maryland Institute and the Rinehart School of Sculpture in his native

Baltimore, Berge pursued further studies in Paris at the Académie Julian and with Charles

Raoul Verlet (1857–1923) and Auguste Rodin (1840–1917). Back in the United States,

he was a member of the National Sculpture Society, the Charcoal Club, and the

National Arts Club. His monuments can be found in cities across the country,

including the Armistead, Hayes, Jones, Latrobe, Tattersall, and Watson

monuments in Baltimore; an American Indian memorial in Clifton Park in

Baltimore; and the Gist memorial in Charleston, South Carolina. Berge also

executed a Pietà for Saint Patrick’s Church in Washington, D.C.; and his

fountains and garden figures, for which he is probably best known, are in

gardens and parks as far away as Australia.

Note

1. The foundry’s name became Roman Bronze Works, Inc., in 1947. See Michael Edward Shapiro, Bronze Casting and American Sculpture,

1850–1900 (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1985), p. 199.


31

John Frederick Peto

(American, 1854–1907)

Table Top Still Life

Oil on canvas, 29 3/4 x 22 inches

Inscribed in ink on verso: “Painted By My Father/John F. Peto./Helen Peto Smiley”

Provenance: Keyser Family, Island Heights, New Jersey; private collection; another private

collection by 1964

Reference: John Wilmerding, Important Information Inside: The Art of John F. Peto and the Idea of

Still-Life Painting in Nineteenth-Century America (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1983)

John Frederick Peto was born in Philadelphia in 1854. His father dealt in picture frames, giving him an early exposure to art.

In 1877 Peto enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he met William Michael Harnett

(1848–1892). The two artists painted highly illusionistic still lifes that inspired a whole school of American trompe l’eoil

painters. Peto exhibited in the Academy’s annual exhibitions for several years, and during the next decade he had studios at

different addresses on Chestnut Street. In 1887 he went to Cincinnati, probably in pursuit of a commission. While there he

met Christine Pearl Smith, who became his wife. Back east, the couple started visiting Island Heights, New Jersey, a shore resort

with Methodist beginnings. In 1889 Peto built a house in Island Heights and devoted himself to his wife and daughter and to

the quiet pursuit of his art. His studio, which still stands today, was filled with simple, often worn, objects that the artist painted

over and over, refining his vision in groups of related compositions: small pictures of three or four objects, often a mug, a book,

and a pipe, objects hanging on a wall or a door, rack pictures, and tabletop still lifes like this one.


32

Nicholas A. Brooks

(American, 1849–after 1904)

A Ten-Dollar Bill, c. 1890

Oil on canvas, 10 1 /4 x 16 1 /4 inches

Signed at lower left: “N. A. Brooks”

Reference: Bruce W. Chambers, Old Money: American Trompe l’Oeil Images of

Currency (New York: Berry-Hill Galleries., Inc., Nov. 11–Dec. 17, 1988)

In 1879, the trompe l’oeil still-life painters William Michael Harnett (1848–1892) and John Frederick Peto (see plate 31),

his classmate at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, both painted their first rack pictures—lifesized,

illusionistic depictions of flat objects, mostly papers, attached to a vertical surface or hanging on a wall. That year Harnett

also painted Still Life—Ten-Cent Bill (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Alex Simpson, Jr., Collection). Other American artists,

including Peto, the Connecticut artist John Haberle (1856–1933), and the Cincinnati artist Charles Alfred Meurer

(1865–1955), followed Harnett’s example and made paper money a subject of their trompe l’oeil paintings. During the last

two decades of the nineteenth century, paintings of currency became a preoccupation for a number of artists in New York

City: Nicholas A. Brooks, Ferdinand Danton, Jr. (1877–after 1912),Victor Dubreuil (active 1890–1900), and Marius A.

Gouy (1866–1942). Brooks, who exhibited landscapes at the Brooklyn Art Association beginning in 1876, first painted

currency about 1887. 1 According to Bruce W. Chambers in Old Money: American Trompe l’Oeil Images of Currency, they are

usually fives or tens and always of the series of 1880, as in this example. 2

Note

1. Bruce W. Chambers, Old Money: American Trompe L’Oeil Images of Currency (New York: Berry-Hill Galleries., Inc., Nov. 11–Dec. 17, 1988), p. 54.

2. Chambers, Old Money, p. 55.


33

John White Alexander, N.A.

(American, 1856–1915)

Dorothy Roosevelt, 1901–2

Oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches

Signed at lower left: “J. W. Alexander”

Provenance: Descended in the family of the sitter; Kermit Roosevelt, New York, until c. 1970

Exhibited: Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York, Exhibition of Paintings by John White Alexander (1902), lent by Mrs. H. L. Roosevelt; American Art

Galleries, New York, Portrait Exhibition (1903); Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, John White Alexander Memorial Exhibition (1917), recorded in cat.,

p. 45; Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York, The World of Theodore Roosevelt (Nov. 17, 2002–Feb. 16, 2003) [Note: There

are exhibition labels, label fragments, and other notations on the stretcher verso.]

References: Charles Caffin, “John W. Alexander: The Painter of Idealized Sentiment,” World’s Work, vol. 9, no. 3 (Jan. 1895), pp. 5682–98

(repro. p. 5692); Joseph Walker McSpadden, “John White Alexander: The Artist of The Flowing Line” in his Famous Painters of America (New

York: T. Y. Crowell and Co., 1923), pp. 355–76

Note: This portrait retains its original frame, which was probably designed by the New York architect Stanford White (1853–1906). Frames with

this design were produced by several manufacturers, and Alexander used similar frames on other paintings.

This portrait of Miss Dorothy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1 a distant cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt, will be

included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of John White Alexander’s works by Mary Anne Goley, who states that it was

painted in 1901 or 1902, shortly after the artist returned to New York following a decade in Paris. 2 Goley describes this as:

a typical portrait by Alexander that demonstrates the supple, flowing line that earned him his reputation as “The

Painter of the Flowing Line” (McSpadden). The subject is depicted in the genteel manner of a Gilded Age portrait.

She is dressed formally in a white dress and posed in profile before a subtly articulated backdrop that reflects [Diego]

Velasquez’s [1599–1660] treatment of space. She is seated in an Empire style chair that belonged to Alexander and that

he would use repeatedly in his portraits.

John White Alexander, who was orphaned at an early age, worked hard to become an artist—first as a messenger in his native

Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and then as an illustrator in New York City—and ultimately became one of the most sought-after

portraitists of America’s Gilded Age. By 1877 he had enough money to go to Europe, where he hoped to study in Paris. When

he was not readily accepted into an atelier there, he entered the Royal Academy in Munich. Within a few months he joined a

group of American students who painted with the Munich-trained American artist Frank Duveneck (1848–1919) at nearby

Polling. Known as “Duveneck’s Boys,” several of the young artists, including Alexander, went with Duveneck to Venice, where

the expatriate American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) was then working. Whistler’s “art for art’s sake”

approach to painting was a potent influence on Alexander’s evolving style.

Alexander returned to New York in 1881 and worked once again as an illustrator, while also seeking portrait commissions. His

painting style matured during the course of further European travel (notably to Spain during the 1880s), and the decade he spent

in Paris following his marriage gave his portraiture the confidence and sophistication so evident in Dorothy Roosevelt, painted

soon after his return to New York. As Goley notes, Alexander clearly thought well of this portrait, as it was frequently exhibited

between 1902 and 1908. Its exhibition at Durand-Ruel Galleries in New York in 1902 generated considerable press coverage,

including a review in the New York Evening Sun that identified the sitter as “a clever amateur actress.” 3 Alexander spent the rest

of his life in the United States, where he painted murals as well as portraits. Honors included election to the National Academy

of Design in New York, which he served as president from 1909 to 1913. Dorothy Roosevelt was included in Alexander’s memorial

exhibition at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1917.

Notes

1. Also spelled “Gear,” according to information cited by Mary Anne Goley in “Report Prepared for Schwarz Gallery,” August 24, 2001, n.p. 2. Goley,

“Report Prepared for Schwarz Gallery,” n.p. 3. Nov. 21, 1903, cited in Goley, “Report,” n.p.


34

Lydia Field Emmet, N.A.

(American, 1866–1952)

Portrait of a Girl

Oil on canvas, 33 1 /2 x 41 1 /2 inches

Signed at upper right: “Lydia Field Emmet”

Label (probably framer, printed) on frame verso: “D. B. BUTLER & CO./

ENGRAVINGS/ETCHINGS/AND/Picture Frames/PAINTINGS RESTORED/

116 EAST 57 th St./N.Y.”

Note: This painting retains what appears to be its original frame.

Together with her sister Rosina Emmet Sherwood (1854–1948) and her cousin Ellen Emmet Rand (1876–1941), Lydia

Field Emmet was one of three talented women artists—from a family distinguished by achievement in the professions,

literature, art, and public service—who became especially well known for their portraits of children.

The three aspiring artists studied painting in New York with William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), probably the most

influential American teacher of his time. Chase’s classes—in New York, Philadelphia, and California; in various parts of

Europe, where he guided and taught American students during several summers; and especially at the Shinnecock Summer

School of Art on Long Island—included many young women at a time when women were just beginning to gain acceptance

as professional artists. Emmet also studied with Henry Siddons Mowbray (1858–1928), Kenyon Cox (1856–1919), and

Robert Reid (1862–1929) in New York. She continued her training in Paris with William-Adolphe Bouguereau

(1825–1905), Louis-Joseph-Raphaël Collin (1850–1916), Tony Robert-Fleury (1837–1912), and the American sculptor

and painter Frederick William MacMonnies (1863–1937), who worked with Claude Monet (1840–1926) at Giverny.

By means of a bravura technique for which several of her teachers, especially Chase, were also noted, Emmet attempted to

create a feeling of spontaneity in her portraits that would give lively expression to her sitters’ personalities. As her niece Lydia

Sherwood McClean would recall, the artist often remarked that a sitter “has such a bright little expression, if I can only catch

it.” McClean also noted that “The sisters shared the same love of beauty, the same delight in humor and absurdity, the same

affection and sympathy for children and young people (whom they treated completely as equals).” 1

Lydia Field Emmet exhibited widely in museums and at international expositions, where she won many awards. In 1982

the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, mounted The Emmets: A Family of Women Painters, with a checklist and

essay by Martha J. Hoppin.

Note

1. Quoted in McClean’s preface to Martha J. Hoppin, The Emmets: A Family of Women Painters (Pittsfield, Mass.: The Berkshire Museum, 1982),

pp. 9–10.


35

Charles Austin Needham

(American, 1844–1923)

Park Snows (Madison Square, New York)

Oil on canvas, 28 1 /2 x 40 1 /2 inches

Inscribed in pencil on stretcher verso: “Paris & Bro[?]”

Label fragment (exhibition) on canvas verso: (printed) “[missing] Boston, Mass.”/

(handwritten in ink) “[missing] N.Y./[missing] to blank”

Label (exhibition) on stretcher verso: (printed) “TO BE DETACHED AND

SECURELY FASTENED/TO BACK OF FRAME”/(handwritten in ink) “Chas.

Austin Needham/Park Snows”/(printed) “CORCORAN GALLERY OF ART,

WASHINGTON, D.C.”

Label (shipper, printed) on stretcher verso: “No.___/RETURN TO/W. S.

BUDWORTH & SON/PACKERS and SHIPPERS,/424 WEST 52nd STREET,/

NEW YORK.”

Provenance: Descendant of the artist, Naples, Fl., until 1997

Exhibited: Boston Art Club, Seventy-Fifth Exhibition (Jan. 4–Feb. 2, 1904), as Park

Snows (or Winter in Madison Square); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,

First Biennial Exhibition (Feb. 7–Mar. 9, 1907), as Park Snows (no. 392)

For American artists at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, New York City’s parks

provided subjects not only for simple landscapes but also for paintings that used landscape as a means of expressing the

artists’ feelings about the human life of the city and their own participation in it. City views and urban life had been a

particular interest of the French Impressionists. The artists known as American Impressionists adopted elements of the

French artists’ style, especially their high-keyed palette and glancing strokes of broken color, and tended to paint idealized,

often genteel, park scenes, while contemporary American realists usually employed darker palettes and cruder brushwork,

and devoted more attention to the daily lives of city dwellers at different social levels.

Many views of Paris parks and boulevards by such French Impressionists as Claude Monet (1840–1926) and Camille

Pissarro (1830–1903), for example, are taken from a high vantage point and at a sufficient distance so that individual

human activities are blurred into generalized patterns of movement. Childe Hassam (1859–1935), an American

Impressionist, painted similar views in Boston, Paris, and especially New York, where he often depicted Fifth Avenue,

Union Square, and Madison Square.

Bounded by Madison and Fifth avenues and Twenty-third and Twenty-sixth streets, Madison Square was once the center of

a fashionable neighborhood. Hassam featured Madison Square in Spring Morning in the Heart of the City (The Metropolitan

Museum of Art, New York), which he painted in 1890 and considerably altered between 1895 and 1899. In other New York

views, like Winter in Union Square (early 1890s, The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Hassam made the human element an

even smaller part of an urban picture in which nature asserts control of the man-made environment as snow blankets the

ground and wind bends the trees. In Park Snows (Madison Square, New York), Charles Austin Needham, who from 1890 to

1921 lived near Madison Square at 145 East Twenty-third Street and who certainly knew Hassam’s work, 1 pushes his image

of winter in New York even closer to abstraction, emphasizing the curving pattern of the sidewalks in the square, in a


manner reminiscent of the night views of the contemporary photographers Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and Edward

Steichen (1879–1973). Needham captures the dynamism of the city to which its occupants contribute their energy but that

exists as a larger force with a life of its own, like the weather, largely unaffected by any one individual.

Charles Austin Needham studied with August Will (1834–1910) in his native Buffalo and then at the Art Students League

in New York. A painter, sculptor, illustrator, and craftsman, he was a member of the American Water Color Society, the New

York Watercolor Club, and the Salmagundi Club in New York. He showed works in the exhibitions of the above

organizations; in annuals at the National Academy of Design in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington,

D.C., and the Boston Art Club; and at international exhibitions, including the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, where

he won a silver medal.

Note

1. Interestingly, Needham was fifteen years older than Hassam, whose work remained relatively conservative. The two artists participated in some of

the same exhibitions, but the younger artist showed his work much more extensively, and it was widely published at the time. One of those

publications, Three Cities by Childe Hassam (1899), is cited in American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol.3, A Catalogue of Works by

Artists Born Between 1846 and 1864 by Doreen Bolger Burke (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University

Press, 1980), p. 356, according to which Winter in Union Square is reproduced in the New York section of Three Cities.

36

Robert Bruce Crane, N.A.

(American, 1857–1934)

Winter Landscape

Oil on canvas, 20 1 /8 x 24 1 /8 inches

Signed at lower right: “BRUCE CRANE”

Provenance: Schwarz Gallery until 1984; Pennsylvania private collection, 1984–1999

Bruce Crane is one of the best known of the American landscape painters called Tonalists, artists working at the end of the

nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century who—inspired by the French artists of the Barbizon School—were

especially interested in depicting atmosphere and the effects of light within a more conservative style and more limited

palette than those favored by contemporary artists influenced by the French Impressionists.

Born in New York, Crane studied drafting and architecture there, painting at first only in his spare time. Ultimately he

became a full-time artist, opening a studio and studying with Alexander H. Wyant (1836–1892), under whose tutelage he

moved from a tight, literal rendering of nature, which probably reflected his background as a draftsman, to a more moody

style influenced by Wyant’s Barbizon-inspired canvases and the French originals to which his teacher introduced him.

Crane further pursued his studies for a year and a half in Paris, also painting outdoors in the nearby artists’ colony of Grezsur-Loing.

He returned to the United States in 1881 and continued to paint plein-air landscapes much as he had done in

France, now concentrating on views of the Adirondacks, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Crane achieved his

greatest recognition around the turn of the century, when he won the Webb Prize from the Society of American Artists. In

his mature works, especially autumn and twilight scenes, atmospheric effects are achieved through variation of texture rather

than the precise delineation of detail, with color carefully modulated over a rather narrow range. After 1904 Crane spent

many summers in the artists’ colony of Old Lyme, Connecticut. In 1984 the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme

mounted a retrospective exhibition of Crane’s work; the catalogue includes essays by Charles Teaze Clark and Mary Muir.


37

Charles W. Hargens, Jr.

(American, 1893–1997)

Morning Light, 1920

Oil on canvas, 20 x 26 inches

Signed at lower left: “C. HARGENS”

Label (exhibition) on stretcher verso: (printed) “[THE PENN]SYLVAN[IA

ACADEMY OF THE] FINE ARTS/ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEENTH

ANNUAL EXHIBITION/1920/[ . . . ]/(handwritten in ink) “Morning Light/

[Cha]rles Hargens/[Ches]tnut St./Phila” (Note: This painting is not listed in the

Academy’s Exhibition Record.)

Charles W. Hargens, Jr., was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in

Philadelphia, where his teachers included Cecilia Beaux (1855–1942), Hugh Breckenridge (1870–1937), Emil Carlsen

(1853–1932), William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), and Daniel Garber (1880–1958). Considered one of the Pennsylvania

Impressionists, Hargens was profoundly influenced by Garber—both in his landscape painting style and his choice of subjects—

as is evident in this attempt to capture the morning light playing on a hillside seen through a screen of trees. In 1940 Hargens

and his wife Marjorie Garmon (n.d.), a fashion illustrator, moved to Carversville in Bucks County. This landscape, which may

have been painted there years earlier when Hargens still had a studio in Philadelphia, remained in the artist’s possession until he

moved into a retirement home. In addition to his Bucks County landscapes, Hargens provided designs for advertisements (the

Coca Cola Company was a client) and worked extensively as an illustrator of books and magazines. He often illustrated stories

of the old West and became known for his paintings of Western, Native American, and wildlife subjects.


38

Martha Walter

(American, 1885–1976)

Beach Scene, France

Oil on prepared board, 14 3 /4 x 17 1 /2 inches

Signed at lower right: “Martha Walter”

Reference: W. Douglass Paschall, Impressionist Jewels: The Paintings of Martha

Walter (Philadelphia: Woodmere Art Museum, 2002)

Martha Walter studied under the influential teacher William Merritt Chase (1849–1916) at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania

Academy of the Fine Arts, where she was awarded the prestigious Cresson Scholarship for European Travel. She then studied

in Paris at the Grande Chaumière and the Académie Julian. By the time she returned to the United States at the outbreak

of World War I, Walter was producing Impressionistic paintings executed en plein air, which would remain her speciality

for the rest of her long career.

Many of Walter’s paintings, like this one, are beach scenes. In the United States she often painted at Gloucester,

Massachusetts, and Coney Island, New York. In the 1920s Walter painted many beach scenes at St. Malo, a beach resort and

yachting center on the northwest coast of France. In 1922 she had an exhibition at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris, from

which the French government purchased a painting for the Musée du Luxembourg. Her paintings are now in the Art

Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy, and the Toledo

Museum of Art. The Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia mounted Walter’s first retrospective in 1955 and her most

recent museum show in 2002.


39

Paulette Van Roekens

(American, born France, 1896–1998)

Rittenhouse Square Flower Market, 1918

Oil on prepared board, 12 x 19 1 /4 inches

Signed at lower right: “Paulette van Roekens”

Inscribed on board verso: (in ink) “25/Paulette van Roekens/Glenside Pa/Rittenhouse Square

Flower Market/May 24/1918”; (in pencil) “1367 A/Dorothy Picknell”; “Mrs. W. A. Strum/251 W

89 St/NY/Mr. Ferris Berney/ c /o Issac [sic] Hamburger & Sons/Baltimore & [illegible]/Md.”

Stamps (supplier and manufacturer) on board verso: “HENRY M. TAWS,/Artists and Designers/

Materials,/920 Arch Street, Phila”; “ARTIST/Illustrating Board /[ . . . ]/HURLOCK BROS./[ . . . ]/

Philadelphia [ . . . ]”

Reference: Mary O’Brien and Tricia Fagan, Pennsylvania Impressionism, ed. Brian H. Peterson

(Doylestown, Pa.: James A. Michener Art Museum; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,

2002), pp. 272–75

The painter and teacher Paulette van Roekens was born in Château-Thierry, France, and immigrated to the United States

with her parents, settling near Philadelphia. She studied in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and

the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design), where she was later a professor of

painting and drawing. She married another Moore instructor, Arthur Meltzer, in 1927. The couple lived in Bucks County,

where they often exhibited with other Pennsylvania Impressionists at the Phillips Mill Community Association, and later in

Huntington Valley, near Philadelphia.

Van Roekens was a member of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy and the National Association of Women Painters

and Sculptors. She won the Pennsylvania Academy’s Fellowship award in 1928 and gold medals at the Plastic Club and the

Sketch Club in Philadelphia. Van Roekens exhibited at various Philadelphia galleries and art institutions as well as the

National Academy of Design in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.,

the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Boston Art Club, and the Newport Art Association. Her paintings are in the

Pennsylvania State University in State College; the Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery in Reading, Pennsylvania; and

the Pennsylvania Academy, the Sketch Club, and the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia. Moore College of Art and

Design mounted a Van Roekens retrospective in 1962. The critic Henry C. Pitz wrote about Van Roekens’ work:

She rejoices in color and movement and translates that color and movement into vivacious pigment. She

gravitates toward subjects that sparkle with pattern and bright hues—the circus, the theatre . . . the

summer life of Philadelphia’s parks . . . the Atlantic beach. She rejoices in the sensuous feel of paint. She

responds to the gay and alert aspects of life. 1


Named for the scientist, clock maker, and patriot David Rittenhouse (1732–1796), Rittenhouse Square is one of the five

original city squares in Thomas Holmes’s 1683 plan for William Penn’s “greene Country Towne.” One of many civic

improvements inspired by America’s “City Beautiful” movement, Rittenhouse Square was redesigned in 1913 by Paul Cret

(1876–1945), French-born professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Neighbors near the square, who

raised $30,000 to start the project, asked for a park that would resemble the Parc Monceau, located in a fashionable section

of Paris. They set up the Rittenhouse Improvement Association to continue fund-raising and granted permission to the

Flower Market Association to set up its first Flower Market in the Square May 20, 1914. The Rittenhouse Square Flower

Market is held every May to benefit the Rittenhouse Improvement Association and selected children’s charities. 2

Notes

1. Quoted in Mary O’Brien and Tricia Fagan, Pennsylvania Impressionism, ed. Brian H. Peterson (Doylestown, Pa.: James A. Michener Art Museum;

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), p. 274. 2. See Beverly Wilson Spahr, “Seventy-Five Years Ago at the Rittenhouse Square

Flower Market,” The Center City Sentinel, vol. 1, no. 8 (Apr. 1991), pp. 11–13. Courtesy of Lou Barker.


40

Arthur Meltzer

(American, 1893–1989)

Rain: Spring, c. 1938–39

Oil on canvas, 46 x 42 inches

Signed at lower center: “Arthur Meltzer”

Inscribed in pencil on stretcher verso: “DAMAR ‘V’/RAIN: SPRING/JULY—1944”

Stamp (supplier) on canvas verso: “CLAESSENS/BELGIQUE/ROUE [?] DEPOSE”

Provenance: Collection of the artist until c. 1980; private collection, Wilmington,

Delaware, until 2001

Reference: Mary O’Brien in Pennsylvania Impressionism, ed. Brian H. Peterson

(Doylestown, Pa.: James A. Michener Art Museum; Philadelphia: University of

Pennsylvania Press, 2002), pp. 172–77

Note: This painting retains what appears to be its original frame, probably made by

the artist.

Arthur Meltzer was born to Lithuanian immigrants in Minneapolis. He studied at the Minneapolis School of Art with

Robert Koehler (1850–1917), and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia with Hugh Breckenridge

(1870–1937), Arthur Carles (1882–1952), Daniel Garber (1880–1958), Philip Hale (1865–1931), Joseph Pearson

(1876–1951), and Robert Vonnoh (1858–1933). He was a member of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy, the

Graphic Sketch Club (now the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial), and the Art Alliance, all in Philadelphia.

In 1921 Meltzer won the Cresson Scholarship for European Travel from the Pennsylvania Academy. After he returned to

Philadelphia, he became the head of the Fine Arts Department of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now

Moore College of Art and Design), where he met the artist Paulette Van Roekens (see plate 39), who was also on the staff.

The two artists married in 1927 and celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in 1977. They found an old house in Bucks County,

which they restored. Using his high school training as a woodworker, Meltzer also made furniture and picture frames. The

strong decorative qualities of the painting illustrated here may recall his six-year apprenticeship with the Ford and McNutt

Stained Glass Company in Minneapolis. According to a relative of the artist, the barn in this painting was located near

Newtown, a short distance from the Meltzers’ Bucks County home.

Meltzer’s works have been exhibited in the annual and biennial exhibitions of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran

Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C., the National Academy of Design in New York, and the Pennsylvania Academy; at the

Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio and the University of Connecticut in Storrs; and in Philadelphia at the Art Alliance, the

Art Club, the Sketch Club, and the Woodmere Art Museum. Meltzer and Van Roekens also exhibited with other

Pennsylvania Impressionists at the Phillips Mill Community Association in New Hope.


CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS

Tony Lewis completed his doctoral work on Thomas Birch at Northwestern University in 1994. He was a writer for the

Micro Gallery computer project at the National Gallery of Art from 1993 to 1995 and was subsequently curator of paintings

at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, and acting assistant director of the Middlebury College Museum of

Art in Vermont. He is currently teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where he is also director

of the Museum of Art.

Milo M. Naeve is the Field-McCormick Curator Emeritus of American Arts of The Art Institute of Chicago. He is the

author of John Lewis Krimmel: An Artist in Federal America. His other publications include The Classical Presence in American

Art, Identifying American Furniture (3rd edition), and articles on a wide variety of subjects, including relationships between

British and American arts. In 1996 he received the Royal Society of Arts’ award for “the most distinguished article published

in the decorative arts.” His most recent exhibition (with catalogue) was 150 Years of Philadelphia Painters and Paintings:

Selections from the Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art (Library Company of Philadelphia, 1999).

Scott W. Nolley received his undergraduate degree in art conservation from Virginia Commonwealth University. In

1996 he earned his master’s degree in art conservation from Buffalo State College (formerly the Cooperstown Program).

Nolley has worked at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City and the Smithsonian Institution and has done on-site

projects for the Astoria Column restoration in Astoria, Oregon, and preservation work on the cave paintings at Pictograph

Cave in Billings, Montana. As Conservator of Paintings and Objects for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Nolley

carried out and presented extensive research on the works of Edward Hicks. He is currently head of the Richmond-based

firm of Fine Art Conservation of Virginia, which he established.

Linda Crocker Simmons received her B.A. in art history from American University and her M.A. in art history from

the University of Delaware. She is currently working on a doctoral dissertation on the landscapes of James Peale. She is

Curator Emeritus of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she served on the curatorial staff for twentysix

years. Her research and publications have focused on members of the Peale family, as well as African American art,

women artists, painters of the American South, and folk or nonacademic painters. Her publications include “The Biennial

Exhibition: The First Sixty Years from 1907–1967” in The Forty-Fifth Biennial: The Corcoran Collects, 1907–1996 (1998);

American Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, and Collages in the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, with Edward J. Nygren

et al. (1983); and Jacob Frymire: An American Limner (1975). She is currently working on the Peale Paintings Project at the

Maryland Historical Society.

Carol Eaton Soltis received B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She was guest curator of the

Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s 1985 exhibition Rembrandt Peale, 1778–1860: A Life in the Arts, for which she wrote the

catalogue. In 1992 she co-curated, with Dr. Lillian Miller, the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition In Pursuit of Fame:

Rembrandt Peale, 1778–1860 and contributed an essay on Peale’s style to the catalogue. While a member of the staff of the

Peale Family Papers at the National Portrait Gallery, she assembled a catalogue raissonné of Rembrandt Peale’s work. She has

published numerous articles on the artist and is a member of the Peale Paintings Project at the Maryland Historical Society.


Robert Wilson Torchia is Assistant Professor of Art History at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. He received his

Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. A specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art with a

particular interest in Philadelphia, he was guest curator of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s exhibition John Neagle,

Portrait Painter of Philadelphia (1989) and has published articles on Neagle, Thomas Eakins, Joshua Johnson, and Thomas

Sully. He is also the author of American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, part 2, The Collections of the National Gallery of

Art Systematic Catalogue (1998). In 2002 he organized an exhibition on the St. Augustine Art Association for the Lightner

Museum in St. Augustine, Florida.

Carolyn J. Weekley received her B.A. from Mary Baldwin College in Virginia and her M.A. from the University of

Delaware, the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture. She has served as Curator of the Museum of Early Southern

Decorative Arts, Old Salem, North Carolina, and Curator of Decorative Arts at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in

Richmond. In 1979 she was named Curator of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in Williamsburg. Subsequent

positions there included Associate Director and Director. She was named the Julie Grainger Director of Museums (Abby

Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Carter’s Grove, and Bassett Hall) at

Colonial Williamsburg in 1999. Her publications include articles on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American artists

and she has co-authored books on the Center’s collections as well as on Joshua Johnson and Edward Hicks.

INDEX

Alexander, John White 33

Berge, Edward 30

Birch, Thomas 7, 14

Bricher, Alfred Thompson 21, 22

Brooks, Nicholas A. 32

Crane, Robert Bruce 36

de França, Manuel Jaochim 18

Drexel, Francis Martin 10, 11

Du Vivier 2

Edmondson, Edward, Jr. 20

Emmet, Lydia Field 34

Hargens, Charles W., Jr. 37

Henry, Edward Lamson 26, 27

Herzog, Herman 23

Hicks, Edward cover, 1

James, Frederick 25

Krimmel, John Lewis 12

Mayr, Christian 16

Meltzer, Arthur 40

Murray, Edward H. (Attributed) 15

Needham, Charles Austin 35

Peale, Charles Willson 3, 4

Peale, James 13

Peto, John Frederick 31

Polk, Charles Peale 5, 6

Pyle, Howard 28

Pyle, Katherine 29

Richards, William Trost 24

Van Roekens, Paulette 39

Sully, Thomas 17

Walter, Martha 38

Waugh, Samuel Bell 19

Wertmüller, Adolph-Ulric 8, 9


SELECTED SCHWARZ GALLERY PUBLICATIONS

Monographic Catalogues

Herman Herzog (1832–1932), 1979 *

Philadelphia Artists: The Weber Family, 1985 *

A Gallery Collects Peales, 1987

Anna Richards Brewster, 1990

Franklin Watkins, 1992

Charles James Theriat in North Africa (brochure), 1993

The Gilmans, 1996

The Smiths: A Family of Philadelphia Artists, 1999

Xanthus Smith and the Civil War, 1999

Other Catalogues

The Stephen Girard Collection, 1980

Philadelphia Portraits, 1982, * 1985 *

The Philadelphia Marine Tradition (1815–1915), 1983 *

A Century of Philadelphia Artists, 1988

American Miniatures, 1990

Fifty Years on Chestnut Street, 1993

150 Years of Philadelphia Still-Life Painting, 1997

American Paintings, 1998, 2001

A Civil War Album, 1999

The Lambdins of Philadelphia: Newly Discovered Works, 2002

American Works on Paper, 2002

* photocopy only

The Schwarz Gallery provides appraisals for insurance and estate valuation and, in conjunction with the Art Dealers Association

of America, for gift-tax purposes. Expert conservation of paintings and works on paper can be arranged, and guidance in selecting

period and fine reproduction frames is offered. To discuss American and European paintings and decorative arts you may have

available for purchase, please contact Robert Schwarz at 215 563 4887, fax 215 561 5621, or mail@schwarzgallery.com.

Founded in 1930 by Frank S. Schwarz, the Gallery began as specialists in Philadelphia furniture and silver. Today, under the

direction of the founder’s son Robert D. Schwarz, Sr., grandson Robert D. Schwarz, Jr., and widow Marie D. Schwarz, the focus

is on nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings. The Gallery is honored to count among its clients a wide range of private

collectors as well as many of the country’s major museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brandywine River

Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art

Museum, the Timken Museum of Art, and the Winterthur Museum and Gardens.

Robert Schwarz earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Dickinson College, and supplemented his studies in the fine arts at

the University of Vienna and The Barnes Foundation. In 1964, he joined his father’s firm and developed his interest in fine art

into an expertise in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century painting. As curator of The Stephen Girard Collection from 1970 to

1980, he documented this important collection in a scholarly catalogue. Subsequently, his publication of more than seventy

informative catalogues in conjunction with the Gallery’s exhibitions has established the firm’s excellence in its field.


F I N E P A I N T I N G S SCHWARZ F O U N D E D 1 9 3 0

P H I L A D E L P H I A

1806 Chestnut Street Philadelphia PA 19103

Tel 215 563 4887 Fax 215 561 5621 mail@schwarzgallery.com

Art Dealers Association of America; Art and Antique Dealers League of America; CINOA

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines