Category Archives: American Portrait Research

A Descendant of David Rittenhouse Family History

In the Mystery of A Descendant of David Rittenhouse, to discover the names of both the sitter and the artist who painted the portrait, Fine Art Investigations researched the David Rittenhouse family history. What a history it turned out to be. … Continue reading

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Stories Behind the Portraits: Vestine Porter

Q. “In old portraits, why aren’t people smiling?” A.    (1) They wanted to look honorable and serious, and definitely, not like fool. (2) They had bad teeth. Times and attitudes changed, and people like John King Stark, husband of George … Continue reading

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Evolution of an Art Detective

In 2002, I was not yet an art detective. I was in the midst of earning advanced degrees in art history and history. But, the Bingham Portrait Project, my search for George Caleb Bingham portraits, had brought me to the attention … Continue reading

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Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman

Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman “Who was the artist?” the owners wanted to know.  The Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman was an especially hard project because the painting had little provenance. The owners purchased the portrait in Wisconsin at auction.  The estate may … Continue reading

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The Mystery of Five Family Portraits: III

Introduction The third of the five family portraits depicted Judge Lewis Penn Witherspoon Balch (1787-1868). His grandson would marry a granddaughter of Julia Anna Marion Prosser (Mrs. Richard Bland Lee II) (1805-1886). Subject Balch was born on July 31, 1787, in Georgetown, … Continue reading

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Introduction The second of five family portraits in search of an artist was Woman in Red. The owner thought the subject might be Elizabeth (Eliza) Collins Lee (1768-1858). The first step toward learning the name of the artist and the subject was to find … Continue reading

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The Mystery of Five Family Portraits: I

Five family portraits of five family members, most from different branches of the same family tree.  The owner knew the names of four of the sitters, but not the names of the five artists. Here are the paintings: Two of the artists … Continue reading

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A specialist in Gilded Age portraiture suggested the artist of Lilian de Peyster Post Pulsford might be Wilhelm Heinrich Funk. Who? To be absolutely clear, no proof exists that Wilhelm Heinrich Funk was the artist of the portrait of Lilian dePeyster Post Pulsford … Continue reading

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