SOLD! for $4,864.00.
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- Low Estimate: $3,000.00
- High Estimate: $3,400.00
- Realized: $4,864.00
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Edwin D. White (American, 1817-1877) oil on canvas painting titled "Sam," depicting an African American man, seated on wooden steps leading to a door, with a broom and tattered coat behind him and a pottery water pitcher standing to his side. He wears a top hat, brown overcoat and scarf, and sits with his folded hands resting on his bent knee. Behind him is a wall with peeling paint and the corner of a window. Signed left center "Edwin White" and dated 1860; old script note en verso states the title of the painting and artist with additional note "New York University." Later giltwood frame with husk, leaf and berry moldings. Sight – 11"H x 9 1/2"W. Frame – 16"H x 14"W. Note: This comparatively intimate portrait was done by White, a renowned painter of large format historical subjects, on the eve of the Civil War shortly after he returned to New York from several years in Europe. White had studied in Dusseldorf with Karl Friedrich Lessing and in Paris with Francois Edouard Picot, and was already admired for his paintings "The Signing of the Mayflower Compact," "Pocahontas Informing John Smith of the Conspiracy of the Indians" and "Washington Resigning his Commission." Born in Massachusetts, White had begun painting at the age of 12 and studied with portraitist Philip Hewins and with John Rubens Smith at the National Academy of Design. By 1860, health problems had forced him to return to the U.S., where he set up a studio at New York University. This portrait of a man, imbued with a countenance of dignity despite his shabby surroundings, may have been intended to bolster support for the Union cause. Not long its completion, he began work on another, larger scale painting that would become his most famous depiction of that turbulent time: "Major Anderson Raising the Flag on the Morning of His Taking Possession of Fort Sumter, Dec. 27, 1860". White went on to teach at the National Academy of Design and returned to Europe and visited the Middle East in the 1870s; he died in 1877 in New York after a long bout with poor health, and said by a friend to have been crushed by criticism of his paintings exhibited at the Academy in 1876. (Sources: The Johnson Collection; The Archives of Maryland Biographical Series).
PROVENANCE: The estate of Judge John Nixon, Nashville, Tennessee.
CONDITION: Painting has had professional restoration to stabilize widespread drying crackle, although some craquelure remains; several small scattered spots of inpainting fluoresce under UV light to both background and subject. 1/16" flake to subject's sleeve. Painting has been lined.