Oil on canvas painting of a fetching young red-headed girl with a doll, 24" by 18" (34" by 27 1/2" in old attractive frame), signed at lower left "P. Harwood", not dated but circa early 20th century. This is a really beautifully executed work, reminding of some of the vigorous portraits by masters like Robert Henri; but, efforts to identify the artist have not borne fruit. Since the work was purchased in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, I at first thought of Boston School artists, or perhaps students of William Merritt Chase, but due to the signature, I ultimately decided to follow the most obvious "trail", suggesting perhaps artist ELIHU BURRIT ("BURT") HARWOOD (1857-1922). I contacted the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico. Curatorial staff there at first thought the work might well be by "their" Harwood, but subsequent discussions among themselves led them away from that direction. So at this point I am going to sell the painting based on its own very strong qualities. As shown, the work has been relined at some time in the past. Note the old partial label with "Poppy" as subject and "Harwood" as artist. There is considerable fine craquelure as shown, especially at mid-right, but I would say that the paint surface is stable. The frame is quite heavy for its size; the lower right corner's molding/gesso broke off in shipping from the east coast. Forgetting for a moment who the artist might have been, sit back and just look at the quality of this portrait, perhaps the best one I have ever offered.
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