Anna Claypoole Peale American, 1791-1878 Young Woman with a Book, circa 1810
Young Woman with a Book, circa 1810
Signed Anna Peale and dated indistinctly on the cover of the book (ll)
Oil on panel
16 x 13 3/4 inches
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Legacy of Ivory: Anna Claypoole Peale's Portrait Miniatures, Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1989, Vol. 64, no. 4, p. 20, fig. 4
Anne Sue Hirshorn, The Magazine Antiques, "Portraits in Miniature: Anna Claypoole Peale and Caroline Schetky," Feb. 2002, Vol. CLXI, no. 2, pp. 82-87, illus. p. 84
This appealing likeness of an adolescent young woman is an early effort by Anna Claypoole Peale, one of six children of James Peale of Philadelphia and a member of America's first artistic dynasty. She began to draw seriously at about fourteen years of age, was apprenticed to her father at sixteen, and soon began to accept portrait commissions in her own right. Although she also produced still life paintings, landscapes and full size oil portraits, around 1814 she began to specialize in portrait miniatures. Her sitters included two American presidents, an ambassador, and several United States senators, as well as celebrated writers and scientists. Anna Claypoole Peale participated in the first annual exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1910, and along with her sister, Sarah Miriam Peale, was elected to membership in the Academy in 1824.
Dated indistinctly, the present work is closely related in pose, as well as details of costume and coiffure, to Anna Claypoole Peale's 1810 likeness in miniature of Helena Holmes Pennington, owned by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In 2002, Anne Sue Hirshorn wrote that "Anna must have been about sixteen when she painted Girl with a Book. This portrait communicates the artist's pleasure in the act of painting which is revealed in a lambent play of light on the figure. The subject holds a book on which the artist's name is substituted for the title on the cover. From about 1810 Peale's paintings are generally signed, and as the artist adopted a professional persona, she added the initial C, an acknowledgement of her mother's family, the Claypooles, to her signature." [Anne Sue Hirshorn, The Magazine Antiques, "Portraits in Miniature: Anna Claypoole Peale and Caroline Schetky," Feb. 2002, Vol. CLXI, no. 2, p. 83]
This lot is accompanied by a letter of authentication from Anne Sue Hirshorn.
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