worked as an itinerant painter in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York
for five decades."
(1788–1865), a self-taught
New England portrait
painter, is regarded as one of the most important folk artists of his era.
Phillips was born in
Colebrook, Connecticut, and began
painting portraits as early as 1810. He worked as an itinerant painter
in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York for five decades.
from a period
when Phillips was
mising clarity and
clothes with a few
tions. He painted
at least two other
the bonnet that so
smartly sets off
Katherine Salisbury Newkirk Hickok
1825 / Oil on canvas, 32 x 27” ~ Unsigned
In 1924, a
group of portraits of women, shown leaning forward in three-quarter view and
wearing dark dresses, were displayed in an antique show in Kent,
Connecticut. The anonymous painter of these strongly colored works, which
dated from the 1830s, became known as the "Kent Limner," after the locality
where they had come to light.
Stylistically distinct from those of the "Kent
Limner," a second group of early-19th-century paintings emerged after 1940
in the area near the Connecticut–New York border. Attributed at the time to
an unknown "Border Limner," these works, dating from the period 1812–1818,
were characterized by soft pastel hues, as seen in the portrait of
Harriet Leavens, now in the
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard
It was not until 1968 that Ammi Phillips'
identity as the painter of both groups of portraits was established.
Additional works were identified, showing the artist's transition from the
delicate coloration of the Border period to the bold and somber works that
followed. By 1976, there were approximately 400 paintings securely
attributed to Phillips, who is now recognized as one of the most prolific
American folk painters of his time.
His work was featured on a United States
postage stamp in 1998.