WILLIAM MATTHEW PRIOR (1806-1873)
Red haired little girl in a white dress
Possibly Portland, Maine, dated 1832
Oil on artist board, 22 x 19 inches
Inscribed in ink on verso: “W.M. Prior / 1832.”
Cleaned and re-varnished, in a reproduction veneered frame
This portrait of a red-haired little girl in a white dress wearing a coral necklace with heart-shaped pendant is signed and dated by William Matthew Prior (1806-1873), one of the most prominent and influential American folk painters of the nineteenth century. Beginning early in his career Prior cleverly adapted his portrait painting style to respond to the taste and budget of his clientele, that ranged from simple and inexpensive “flat” likenesses to highly polished “shaded” portraits in a nearly academic mode. The dramatic clouds in the background of this portrait anticipate the skies of landscapes that Prior painted in his later years
Collection of Marjorie Wyman, St. Louis, MO; Private collection.