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Mother and Child

circa 1820

Charles P. Polk (American, 1767 - 1822)

Charles Peale Polk was the nephew of Charles Willson Peale, one of America’s most important early artists and intellects. The Peale family was a decidedly artistic one: it included sixteen artists spread across three generations. Polk lived with the Peales and trained with his uncle; in fact, some of his earliest known works are copies of portraits by Charles Willson Peale.

This charming double portrait, likely painted towards the end of Polk’s career, demonstrates his ability to capture the personalities of his sitters as well as his affection for including finely painted details such as lace, jewelry, ribbons and the fruit that is jointly held by both mother and child, subtly linking them together. Polk’s mature paintings, such as this one, are characterized by their firm, precisely described contours and strong, relatively unmodulated colors.

Place object was created: United States

oil paint, canvas

Measurements:    height: 38 inches    width: 31.25 inches    smallest height: 32 inches    smallest width: 25.5 inches

Gift of Ann D. Frisch 1991.57.4

Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN