A charming portrait study of a common squirrel on a branch, chewing a nut, signed at lower left in red by American mid/late 19th century artist CHARLES THEMMEN, and dated there 1878. The unframed work measures 20" by 15". It is offered in as-is condition and needs tender loving care from a restorer, having been abused in its lifetime. The work appears to have been crudely relined by an amateur many decades ago, and old repairs are evident. Apparently, in more recent times, subsequent to that initial abuse, it was punctured at lower center (largest about an inch long) and scraped and abraded in a number of areas, as the photos illustrate (along with a number of other faults). A test cleaning at left shows the brilliant white and blue of a sky hidden under the greenish discolored varnish. Themmen is a minor artist, most closely associated with Connecticut landscape art in the mid 19th century, but in this work he has created a rare and charming piece worthy of restoration. Were it signed "Joseph Decker" instead of "Themmen", the values would be rather different. The artist expresses the same sympathy and admiration for this simple, noble subject that Decker expressed. Found in Brunswick, Maine.
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