Ornamental Separator

We The People: American Folk Portraits

Ongoing Exhibition
On view in the Gladys and Franklin Clark Foundation Gallery.
This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Don and Elaine Bogus.

Without folk painters, the faces of many members of the middle and, sometimes, lower classes would not have been recorded. The portraits reveal much about ordinary people: how they lived, what they valued, and how they wished to be remembered. Folk portraits give us glimpses of the countless people who shaped America as vitally and lastingly as her better known movers and shakers. The artists too left something of themselves. They did not achieve their occupation through formal guidance or direction from others but, instead, through inborn talent and intuition. On view are old favorites from the museum’s collection as well as recent acquisitions, some on exhibition for the first time.

Portrait of the Smith Family by Capt. James Smith, Richmond, Virginia, ca. 1807. Museum Purchase, 2011.100.1
Portrait of Mrs. Seth Wilkinson attributed to Lyman Parks, New York, probably 1827-1830. Museum Purchase, 1960.100.2
Boy in Plaid by unidentified artist, New England, ca. 1845. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1936.100.14

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