Monday, 21 November 2016

American Folk Art - part 13

Continuing a major series on American Folk Art featuring 21 postings. Folk Art encompasses art produced by artists and ordinary folk with little or no training in the arts, and is traditionally utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. The period I’m covering is the C18th and C19th.
See parts 1-12 also for earlier works.

Note: Follow me on Twitter for notice of updates @poulwebb

This is part 13 of a 21-part post on American Folk Art:


Erastus Salisbury Field (1805-1900)

Erastus Salisbury Field, 1840s.
Daguerrotype coloured by the artist

Erastus Salisbury Field and his twin sister, Salome, were born in Leverett, Massachusetts, on 19 May 1805. Erastus Field showed an early talent for sketching portraits, and in 1824 the aspiring artist travelled to New York City to study with Samuel F. B. Morse. Field's instruction was cut short by the death of Morse's wife in 1825, and it is not evident what Field learned. In 1831 he married Phebe Gilmur in Ware, Massachusetts, and their only child was born the next year. His career apparently prospered during the 1830s, for the artist produced a multitude of rapidly executed portraits, often completed in one day, which commanded fair prices. Field's best portraits date from around 1836 - the year he returned to Leverett from Ware - to about 1840.

After traveling to Brattleboro, Vermont, in 1839, the artist and his wife moved back to Ware, Massachusetts. By 1841, however, they were in New York City. Field remained there for about seven years and exhibited several works. In 1848 he was called home to manage his father's farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts, and a newspaper account reported that he remained there for "some four years in the practice of his art." By around 1847 Field had begun executing landscape and history paintings, perhaps because the daguerreotype, introduced in America in 1839, was beginning to replace painted portraits. Always resourceful, however, Field took advantage of the camera, using it to make photographs of his sitters, which he would later copy on canvas.

Between 1852 and his wife's death in 1859, Field moved frequently between Sunderland, Palmer, and North Amherst, Massachusetts. When Phebe Field died, the artist and his daughter moved to Plumtrees, a settlement now in Sunderland that was occupied by the Cooley and Hubbard families, whom Field had known since childhood. Field, who would spend the rest of his life there, built a modest studio and painted some elaborate compositions of exotic landscapes and biblical scenes, relying on his imagination as well as on printed illustrations by artists such as John Martin.


Field died at Plumtrees in 1900, leaving a legacy of over three hundred paintings attributed to his hand. Just before his death a newspaper article praised his portraits, saying that they were "as nearly correct as can well be made in oil, and give to posterity faithful ideas of the personal appearance of their ancestors." Field's career exemplified that of the enterprising itinerant who created distinctive, quickly executed yet insightful likenesses to meet the growing demands of America's middle-class patrons.


1825-50c Portrait of a Woman with a Shawl
oil on canvas 89.5 x 66 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

1825c Elizabeth Billings Ashley
oil on canvas 62.2 x 57.1 cm
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1829c Gentleman of Squire Williams House
oil on canvas 81.3 x 61.6 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

1829c Lady of Squire Williams House
oil on canvas 81.3 x 61.6 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

1829c Mary Werner Bangs
oil on canvas 149.2 x 76.8 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

1830c Dwarfed Boy in Red Dress Holding Rattle
oil  on canvas 30.5 x 22.9 cm
Private Collection

1830c Julia Tuttle Bangs
oil on canvas

1830c Phineas Field ( younger brother of the artist )
oil on canvas 80 x 67.3 cm
Private Collection

1830c Portrait of a Young Lady
oil on canvas 30.5 x 22.9 cm
Portland Art Museum, Oregon

1833-34 Augusta Mason Doten
oil on canvas 86.7 x 69.2 cm
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama

1833c Elizabeth Camilla Jillson
oil on canvas 121.9 x 73.7 cm
Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT

1833c Harriet Sophia Jones
oil on canvas 111.8 x 72.4 cm
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

1835 Portrait of Sarah Elizabeth Ball
oil on canvas
Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, Mt Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

1835 Thankful Field
oil on canvas 79.4 x 65.1 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1835-38 Mrs. Paul Smith Palmer and Her Twins
oil on canvas 97.8 x 86.3 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1835-38 Paul Smith Palmer
oil on canvas 86.4 x 73.4 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1835-38c Man Holding a Quill
oil on canvas 76.2 x 66 cm
Folk Art Museum, New York City

1835-38c Woman Holding Red Book
oil on canvas 76.2 x 66 cm
Folk Art Museum, New York City

1835c Woman Holding a Book
oil on canvas 75.7 x 60.5 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1835c Young Girl in Pink Dress
oil on canvas 86.4 x 66 cm
Private Collection

1836 Austin Marsh
oil on canvas
Private Collection

1836 Henry Carlton Hulbert
oil on canvas 75.6 x 64.8 cm
Private Collection

1836 Maryette Field Marsh
oil on canvas 88.9 x 73.7 cm
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

1836 Nathaniel Bassett
oil on canvas 88.9 x 72.7 cm 
Smith College of Art, Northampton, MA

1836c Amos Geer Hulbert
oil on canvas 87 x 73.7 cm
Private Collection

1836c Bethiah Smith Bassett
oil on canvas 88.9 x 73.3 cm
Smith College of Art, Northampton, MA

1836c Henry Thomas Robbins
oil on canvas 87 x 81.92 cm
Private Collection

1837 Dolly Floyd Wiley
oil on canvas 88.9 x 73.7 cm
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1837 Eleazer Cowles
oil on canvas 76.5 x 66.4 cm
Worcester Art Museum, MA

1837 Loisa Cowles
oil on canvas 76.5 x 66.4 cm
Worcester Art Museum, MA

1837 Maria Cowles
oil on canvas 76.5 x 66.4 cm
Worcester Art Museum, MA

1838 Josiah Goddard
oil on canvas
Brown University Portrait Collection, Providence, RI

1838 Lucy H. Mills Ball
oil on canvas 103.5 x 92.1 cm
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1838 Mr. Pearce
oil on canvas 76.2 x 66 cm
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Centre, Williamsburg, VA

1838 Mrs. Pearce
oil on canvas 76.2 x 66 cm
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Centre, Williamsburg, VA

1838 Reverend Dyer Ball
oil on canvas 13.5 x 92.1 cm
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1838 Woman with a Green Book
oil on canvas 88.9 x 74.3 cm
Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1838-39c Portrait of a Young Man
oil on canvas 74.9 x 63.5 cm
Folk Art Museum, New York City

1838c ( attributed to ) Josiah B. Woods Jr. ( posthumous portrait )
oil on linen 129.5 x 81.9 cm
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ

1838c Man with a Tune Book: Possibly Mr. Cook
oil on canvas 89.1 x 73.8 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1838c Sarah Elizabeth Ball
oil on canvas 89.2 74.3 cm
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA

1839c Joseph Moore and His Family
oil on canvas 209.2 x 237.2 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

1839c Louisa ( Clarissa? ) Gallond Cook
oil on canvas 86.4 x 71.1 cm
Shelburne Museum, VT

1840-49c Julius Norton
oil on canvas 88.9 x 73.7 cm
Bennington Museum, VT

1844c The Embarkation of Ulysses
oil on canvas 87.6 x 115.6 cm
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1845c Margaret Gilmore
oil on canvas 137.5 x 86.7 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

1848c Girl of the Bangs-Phelps Family
oil on canvas 149.2 x 76.8 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

n.d. Susanne Tilinghast of Connecticut
oil on canvas 73.7 x 64.1 cm
Private Collection

1850c The Taj Mahal
oil on canvas 61.6 x 86.7 cm
Flint Institute of Arts, MI

1855c Rattlesnake Gutter
oil on canvas 109.2 x 94 cm
Private Collection

1860-1880c The Taj Mahal
oil on canvas 88.7 x 116.7 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1860c The Garden of Eden
oil on canvas 63.5 x 105.4 cm
Shelburne Museum, VT

1860c The Garden of Eden
oil on canvas 88.3 x 116.5 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1865-80 Egyptian Scene ( possibly Moses and Zipporah )
oil on canvas 88.9 x 116.8 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

1865-80c "He Turned Their Waters into Blood"
oil on canvas 76.5 x 102.9 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1865-80c Burial of the First Born of Egypt
oil on canvas 84.5 x 99.7 cm
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1865-80c Death of the First Born
oil on canvas 88.6 x 88.9 cm
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Centre, Williamsburg, VA

1865-80c Death of the First Born
oil on canvas 88.9 x 116.8 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

1865-80c The Last Supper
oil on canvas 88.9 x 116.8 cm
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

1865-1880c Ark of the Covenant
oil on canvas 50.8 x 61.3 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1865-1880c Pharaoh's Army Marching
oil on canvas 89 x 116.8 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1867c Historical Monument of the American Republic
oil on canvas 281.9 x 398.8 cm
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1869 The Fairy Grotto
oil on canvas 71.1 x 101.6 cm
Private Collection

1881 Lincoln with Washington and His Generals
oil on canvas 81.3 x 100.3 cm
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

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