Saturday, March 6, 2021

American Folk Art - Quaint Portraits of Early 19C American Women

attributed to John Usher Parsons (American artist, 1806-1874) Woman in Pink c 1835-38 

Several New England artists shared a unique painting style during the 1820s-30s. Women depicted by these artists exhibit several similar characteristics - pale, sculptural faces; prominent thin, delicately arched eyebrows; small bowed mouths; & elaborate classical Greek hairstyles of tight curls intertwined with jewelry, flowers, & other adornments.  The paintings are usually watercolors.  The artists paint strong features, sharply defined, with arched, curved eyebrows.  The watercolors are similar to fashion plates appearing in magazines such as Ackerman’s Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions & Politics, published in London in 1809 through 1829.
attributed to John Usher Parsons (American artist, 1806-1874) Porcupina Van Allen

Parsons received his early education at Latin schools in Parsonsfield, Maine, where he was born, and in nearby Effingham, New Hampshire.  Parsons graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He was ordained in New York City in 1831, & became a preacher traveling to Indiana, Wisconsin, & Kansas. A dozen or so paintings by Parsons date to the period just after his return to the East Coast. Most are of subjects who lived in the area around Parsonsfield & in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where Parsons was minister for several years. The works appear to have been executed during a four-year span from 1834 to 1838.