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    Description

    Superb Large Example of Early American Regional Folk Art Portraiture Oil on canvas, depicting a young child clutching a wheeled toy dog. The head is exaggerated, and the body gets smaller in scale as the eye moves lower. In all probability it is a young girl, although it was not unheard of to dress boys in this fashion! Very fine artistic quality, with lifelike face and wonderful detail, particularly in the lacy cap and the patterned carpet. According to a respected art museum curator of 19th century American paintings, this work is hard to date without knowing its exact provenance. If painted in the developed northeast, it could well be from the first quarter of the nineteenth century. But if it comes from farther west, Indiana or Illinois, it could date from the 1830s. The painting was re-lined some years ago, and the notation "painted by W. Bazin" is found on the reverse, presumably copies from an inscription on the back of the original canvas. Exhaustive research fails to disclose a record of any artist by the name. This is disappointing, but not surprising, as there were many capable local artists doing such work at the time. The frame is certainly period and could well be original to the piece and is in excellent condition. The wood over which the canvas is stretched appears original. The painting itself has a pleasing display appearance, although some professional conservation is recommended. A 1 1/2" tear in the field was mended long ago, but would benefit from being re-done. There are two fine intersecting cracks on the lower fold of the dress, and there has been some minute flaking there. This is an easy restoration, but one which should be accomplished. Most importantly, the painting needs a good professional cleaning. It is now covered by multiple layers of old varnish, and according to the curator we consulted, the colors and detail would really "come to life" with a standard cleaning. We first encountered this painting when it hung above the fireplace in an elegant Philadelphia Main Line home, in a parlor beautifully decorated with period furniture and accessories. But this little girl's plaintive expression and piercing blue eyes immediately drew our attention and continued to hold us captive. According to the museum curator with whom we consulted, it is a very fine example of its genre (indeed she lobbied persuasively for its donation to the museum!). A rich and highly personal work which will be the focal point of any room. 23.25" x 29.25", 28.5" x 34.5" as framed.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2005
    22nd-23rd Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 431

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