Samuel Shaver (Tennessee, 1816-1878), pair of oil on canvas three-quarter portrait paintings depicting a gentleman and wife, possibly Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Sarah Smith, originally of Tennessee. Gentleman is depicted in profile seated and attired in a black suit with a flower on his lapel and writing on a document. Lady is depicted facing the viewer and seated in a red chair, attired in a dark dress with a lace bonnet and collar. She has flower in her hair, a brooch at neckline, and is holding a book. Pencil inscription en verso reads "Mrs. Robert (E.?) Smith". Both are housed in molded wood frames. Sight – 29 1/2" H x 24" W. Framed – 37 1/4" H x 32 1/4" W. Note: Genealogy research shows a Robert Smith, born 1817 in Tennessee, who was living and working as a practicing physician in Jersey, Illinois in 1860, about the same time Shaver lived there. There is also a record of a Robert M. Smith marrying a Sarah M. Lurton in Jersey, Illinois in 1858. A separate record shows a Sarah Lurton born in Tennessee in 1820 but also living in Jersey, Illinois in 1860. Artist's Biography (by James C. Kelly, Virginia Historical Society): Portraitist Samuel M. Shaver was born in Sullivan County, the son of David Shaver and Catherine (Barringer) Shaver. He may have been influenced by William Harrison Scarborough (1812-1871), a native-born Tennessee artist, four years Shaver's senior, who did portraits of Shaver's relatives. Shaver's earliest known painting dates to 1845, but he was probably painting before that time. For the next quarter-century, he was East Tennessee's standard portraitist. In 1851 Shaver was professor of drawing and painting at the Odd Fellows Female Institute in Rogersville. In 1852 he advertised in Greeneville and Knoxville papers; for several years thereafter his whereabouts are unknown. The death of his first wife in January 1856 recalled him to Rogersville, where he remained until the Civil War. At the outset of the war, pro-Confederate Shaver moved to Knoxville, where he became one of the founders of the East Tennessee Art Association. The association commissioned him to do portraits of fifteen Confederate leaders and generals, presumably from photographs. None of the portraits have been located, and perhaps they were never painted. From 1863 to 1868 Shaver lived and worked near Russellville. About 1868 he joined his mother-in-law and family in Jerseyville, Illinois, near St. Louis, where he continued painting. He died June 21, 1878. CONDITION: Both paintings recently cleaned and restored. Both portraits exhibit signs of fire damage. Male portrait: scattered inpainting to left hand and sitter's face, and 2" area at bottom right edge. Female portrait: hand and face cleaned with scattered inpainting to face. See black light images.
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