Offered for sale is a charming early 19th century American primitive oil painting in the manner of Joseph Whiting Stock (1815-1855.) The painting depicts a young boy poised in a landscape setting. He is dressed in a blue velvet jacket with pants and button up boots. Typical of Stock's style he is holding something, in this case, a bunch of grapes. Oddly, perhaps as a sense of fun, the artist has chosen to add a small figure (perhaps a mouse or grasshopper dressed in tails and holding a fishing pole) to the lower left area of the painting. Obviously, the painter had a strong affection for the subject and chose to render him with a little twist, perhaps the boy had a make believe friend that was his constant companion, we can only speculate.
The painting is captivating in its humble execution but somewhat masterful in its use of color and perspective. In all probability, this work was painted by an itinerant artist who had not only a sense of humor but a keen eye for detail. Joseph Stock was one such painter who spent all his adult life in a makeshift wheelchair because of an early spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. While the face of the portrait is quite realistic, the rest of the image is not anatomically correct. This, along with their honest simplicity, is a desirable feature of most early American primitive art that appeals to the aesthetics of modern day collectors.
The painting is in good condition with the following noted: oil on canvas, laid on board, and relined with another canvas on the reverse and placed in new stretchers and frame. There is some paint loss under the small figure at the bottom. The painting is not signed.
Size of Frame: 38 1/2" Height, 25 1/2" Width
Size of Image: 35 1/2" Height, 22 1/2" Width.
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