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Boy with Whip

ca 1840
Origin: America, probably New York or New England
Unframed: 21 3/4 x 17 5/8in. (55.2 x 44.8cm) and Framed: 26 x 22 1/2in.
Oil on basswood panel (n. 1)
Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
Acc. No. 1931.100.8
A half-length portrait of a young boy turned slightly towards the viewer's right. He holds a toy whip in his proper right hand. He has brown eyes and and blonde hair and wears a red suit with brass buttons and a white ruffled collar. The background is sketchily, somewhat splotchily, painted overall in a light grayish brown. Artist unidentified.

The 2 3/4-inch gilded, splayed frame has a recessed outer edge and was supplied by the Old Print Shop, New York, NY, in 1954-1955; it appears to be of late nineteenth or early twentieth century origin.
Label:Dark, liquid eyes set in a pale, winsome face give the unidentified boy visual appeal, and his red suit with its decorative array of buttons adds other appealing elements. He hunches forward, slightly off-center on the panel, and his ear, painted in a line with his jawbone, seems almost an afterthought. Shading and modeling are minimized overall, throwing the dark outline of his jaw into stark contrast. The mottled appearance of the thinly painted background is atypical of folk portraiture but creates an interesting setting for the child.
Provenance:Found in Bridgeport, Conn., by Edith Gregor Halpert Downtown Gallery, New York, NY; purchased from the latter by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller 10 July 1931; in 1939, given by the latter to CWF.