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Woman and Child

ca. 1838
Origin: America, New England
Primary Support: 11 15/16 x 9in. (30.3 x 22.9cm); Pictorial composition: 11 1/4 x 9in. (28.6 x 22.9cm); and Framed: 13 3/4 x 10 11/16 x 5/8in.
Watercolor on heavy wove paper
Gift of Juli Grainger
Acc. No. 2008.300.5
A double portrait of two full-length standing figures, a woman and child, the two facing left, the child'd body turned slightly towards the viewer. The dark-haired woman wears a brown dress with a darker brown apron, a white collar and cap, and black shoes. With her proper right hand, she grasps the proper left hand of the small child, who stands on a footstool and, with his or her proper right hand, reaches for a piece of fruit among those shown in a compote on the edge of a blue cloth-draped table situated at far left in the picture. The child wears a blue dress, white stockings, and black shoes and has light brown hair. The floor is a pale brown, the background, or wall behind, left unpainted.
The 1 3/16-inch flat frame, probably a period replacement, has raised corner blocks and is painted black overall with added decorations in bronze paint: filfots on the corner blocks and, stenciled on each of the members, trophies of foliage, flowers, hearts, and arrows. A brass hanging is affixed at center top.
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.
The earliest portraits (1830-ca. 1834) are quite colorful, while later examples (of which this is one) are more somber. Scholars continue to speculate whether Evans the portraitist could be the James Evans who joined the U. S. Marine Corps in 1830 and/or the well-known American ship painter James Guy Evans (ca. 1810-1860).
Provenance:Purchased by Grainger, AARFAM's source, from Gail & Bert Savage, Strafford Bow Lake, NH, in 1982.