This beautiful School Girl Painting is still in its original frame, an authentic piece of American Folk Art. It was created by nine year old Ellen Josephine Hagen sometime in the third or fourth quarter of the 19th C. I believe she lived in the Cayuga County, NY area since the painting which is still in its original frame bears an old paper label from "Trowbridge & Jennings - 4 - 6 Exchange Street," a prominent art shop in Auburn, NY which was in business at that address from 1869-1898.
The painting is signed "Ellen Josephine Hagen - Aged 9 years" at the center bottom in very pretty penmanship. I can just imagine young Ellen painstakingly toiling over the detailed flowers and leaves one thin stroke at a time - and how proud her parents must have been to have had her painting framed at such a prestigious art shop in an elaborate gilded molding with a decorative oval mat, this was not a bare-bones job. Quite an accomplishment for a nine year old girl. The flowers are still as crisply rendered and the colors as vivid as they were nearly 150 years ago. Very special then, and even moreso now after all these years.
I'm very fond of school girl watercolors and I'm always impressed with the accomplishments of young girls in America. As the 19th C progressed and the tasks required for simple survival became less burdensome, many Americans found themselves with more leisure time and girls were instructed in music and the decorative arts of painting and embroidery - what were then considered the 'Womanly Arts.' Often unsigned and often newly matched up with a period frame today, it's particularly nice to find an example as well identified and in such close-to-original condition as this one is.
CONDITION is grand. Bright and crisp, the paper shows minor toning and very little foxing - it's really in fantastic condition. The frame, an elaborate gilded floral molding shows expected age and some minor losses to the gesso at the corners, nothing that detracts from the charm of this piece. Measures 13 3/4" x 11 3/4" overall with a sight size inside the oval mat of 9 1/2" x 7 1/4".
This is a beautiful piece for a collector. Treat yourself or someone special. Enjoy!
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