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Baby in Red Chair

1810-1830 (possibly)
Origin: America, Pennsylvania (possibly)
Other (unframed): 22 x 15in. (55.9 x 38.1cm) Framed: 24 1/4 x 17 1/2 x 2 1/8in. (61.6 x 44.5 x 5.4cm)
Oil on canvas
From the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Collection; Gift of David Rockefeller
Acc. No. 1931.100.1
A full-length portrait of a baby seated in a red-painted child's arm chair, which fills the available space. A [pillow/] is stuffed in the chair behind the child, ostensibly to cushion the youngster and help fill the space of the chair seat. The child's eyes are closed, its head tilted, and its hands claspsed in its lap. The child wears a simple, ochre-colored dress, gathered at the heckline and having elbow-length sleeves. The chair appears to be of a mid-eighteenth century type; it has turned stretchers and posts, a rush seat, and a bar inserted through channels in the knuckles in order to restrain the child. Artist unidentified.

The 1 1/2-inch molded, black-painted frame is probably a period replacement.
Label:This painting was acquired by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller in 1931, one of her earliest purchases of American folk art. Today it is a favorite of visitors to the museum. The infant's innocence, contentment, and lack of self-consciousness seldom fail to elicit smiles from viewers. Despite the painting's popularity, little is known of its origin. The edges of the canvas frame the figure exceptionally tightly, suggesting that it once may have been part of a larger composition. Although long thought to have been created in Pennsylvania, no other works by the unidentified hand have been discovered there or in Boston, where the picture was discovered in the early 20th century.
Provenance:Found in Boston, Mass., and purchased by Edith Gregor Halpert, Downtown Gallery, New York, NY; purchased from Halpert by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller 21 December 1931; given to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, by Rockefeller in 1939; transferred from the MoMA to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, in 1949; purchased from the Metropolitan Museum of Art by David Rockefeller and given by him to CWF in 1955.