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Portrait of Squire Brewer (1811-1849)

ca. 1835
Origin: America, Massachusetts, Lee (probably)
Unframed: 34 11/16 x 28 1/2in. (88.1 x 72.4cm) and Framed: 36 15/16 x 30 5/8 x 2in.
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1973.100.4
A half-to-three-quarter-length portrait of a man seated sideways in a side chair, his body turned slightly towards the viewer's left, his eyes to the viewer, his proper right arm resting over the crest of the chair, his proper left arm laying loosely in his lap. He wears a black coat, black trousers, cream-colored waistcoat, white shirt with a stand-up collar, and black neck cloth. He has dark gray eyes and dark blonde hair. The background is vaguely defined with cloud-like forms of warm gray, the lightest centered behind him.

The 2-inch turned split baluster frame, painted red with black sponging, is original.
Label:This portrait and its three companions (acc. nos. 1973.100.1-3) are readily attributable to Erastus Salisbury Field on the basis of stylistic features, such as small dots and daubs of color to suggest skin hues and the modeling of facial features, slightly pointed ears, stubby fingers, and cloud-like backgrounds that are lightest directly behind the sitters. Circumstantial evidence further supports the attribution, for Field worked in the area where the subjects lived about 1835, when costume details indicate the pictures were painted.

Squire Brewer married Emeline Bullard of Lee, Massachusetts, the daughter of Eleazer Bullard (1787-1858) and his first wife, Hannah Wilson Bullard (1789-1830). The portraits painted by Field depict Squire Brewer; his wife, Emeline Bullard Brewer; her father, Eleazer Bullard; and her stepmother (her father's second wife), Emily Sheldon Bullard.

Eleazer Bullard is believed to have commissioned the four paintings with the intention of hanging them together. Their original, sponge-painted, split baluster frames are identical. At the same time, an earlier portrait of Hannah, Eleazer's first wife (and Emeline's mother), painted by another artist (acc. no. 1973.100.5), was re-framed to match --- and presumably hang with --- the four by Field, creating an interesting, extended family grouping.

All five portraits descended together, which is unusual. That they remained together so long is partly attributable to several genealogical facts: Emeline was the only one of Eleazer's and Hannah's three children to survive to adulthood; Eleazer and Emily had no children; Emeline and Squire Brewer had only one child, Marretta; and of Marretta's seven children, only one son married.
Provenance:From the subject to his daughter, Marretta Brewer Street (Mrs. Oscar Dickinson Street); to her son, Oscar Dickinson Street II (1877-?); to his son, Oscar Dickinson Street III (1913-1971); to his wife, Grace Ann Gregory Street (Mrs. Oscar Dickinson Street III)(b. 1944), who married, second, James Stagliano and was CWF's source.
Mark(s):None found