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Boy with Whip

1832-1833
Origin: America, New England
Primary Support: 11 5/8 x 8 1/8in. (29.5 x 20.6cm) and Framed: 14 1/8 x 10 5/8 x 11/16in.
Watercolor on heavy wove paper
Gift of Juli Grainger
Acc. No. 2008.300.4
A full-length portrait of a young boy turned to the left, his face in profile, his body turned a bit toward the viewer and his far (proper right) leg advanced as if walking. His arms hang down by his sides, his far hand grasping a flat-crowned, brimmed, black hat, and his near hand grasping the handle and thong of a long whip. He wears pale grayish white trousers, black shoes, a white shirt with a ruffled collar, a dark blue jacket, and a black bow tie. His has medium dark brown hair. He stands on the suggestion of a reddish brown mound but, otherwise, there is no setting.
The 1 1/2-inch splayed, black-painted frame has bronze painted freehand decorations in the corners with bronze paint striping along the inner and outer edges. The frame may be original. Note that it matches the frame on an Evans portrait of a woman. (See "Related Works").
Label:The artist is incompletely identified, although numerous works attributable to the hand have been recorded. Only two signed examples have been noted to date, each inscribed "J. Evans/Painter" (one also dated "1832"). Typically, subjects are shown in profile and rendered in watercolor without visible pencil underdrawings.
This charming depiction of a boy holding a whip illustrates the careful delineation of facial features and the subtlety of modeling that make Evans's work so attractive. The boy holds a rarely depicted style of hat, so the image is of interest to costume and art historians alike.
Provenance:Found in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and acquired in the 1970s from Adelaide and Howard Briggs of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, by Edward and Betty Stvan, Cleveland, Ohio; acquired from the latter by Frank and Barbara Pollack, Highland Park, Ill.; purchased from the Pollacks by CWF's source, Juli Grainger, 1 February 1985.