Sunday, January 2, 2011

Paintings Gustavus Hesselius

.There seem to be few portraits of women before 1730 from the Pennsylvania and Maryland area. Maryland did have Justus Engelhardt Kuhn, who flourished there from 1707 to 1717, but painted mostly the children of the gentry with fantastic formal European gardens as background. Some have suggested that these settings allude to their Catholic faith.
1712-14 Gustavus Hesselius (1682-1755). Christina Stalcop.
But Philadelphia had an artist in residence from about 1713 to mid-century. Swede Gustavus Hesselius (1682-1755) moved from Wilmington, Delaware, where his brother Andreas was minister at the Old Swedes Church, to Philadelphia after immigrating in 1711. He spent a few years in Prince George's County, Maryland, but then returned to Philadelphia, where he lived until he died.
1717 Gustavus Hesselius (1682-1755). Mary Darnall (1678-1742) Mrs. Charles Carroll (1660-1720).
There, the very traditional baroque portrait painter advertised that he could paint, "Coats of Arms ...Ornaments, Landskips, Signs...Ship and House Painting, Gilding..." and even clean and repair old paintings.
Gentlemen living in Philadelphia did not mind his dark palette & stiff style, which somehow fit into the somber & plain facade of their Quaker influenced society. Pennsylvania men sat to have their portraits rendered by Hesselius. But women felt differently.
1742 Gustavus Hesselius (1672-1755) Mrs. Gustavus Brown
Philadelphia Quaker James Logan wrote to his brother in England who desired paintings of Logan's Pennsylvania family, "We have a Swedish painter here, no bad hand, who generally does Justice to the men...but is remarked for never having done any to ye fair sex, and therefore very few care to sit to him nothing on earth could prevail with my spouse to sit at all...".