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Portrait of a Young Girl

circa 1840-1855

Thomas Sully (American, 1783 - 1872)

Although Thomas Sully studied with both Gilbert Stuart and Benjamin West, he eventually developed a soft and painterly style (seen, for example, in this shadowy canvas) that was likely more inspired by the British artist Sir Thomas Lawrence than by his two American mentors. The subject of this painting is Sully’s daughter Rosalie, who was on the way to becoming an artist herself before her early death in 1847. She is shown in a casual, almost spontaneous pose, turning towards the viewer with pencil and portfolio in hand, as if interrupted while working in the studio.
This painting was owned by the Sully family. It is one of three versions of the subject (the earliest of which was painted in 1839), and was likely done as a token of remembrance, since it was completed approximately a year after Rosalie’s death and is very similar to the 1839 version.

oil paint, canvas

Measurements:    frame height: 66 inches    frame width: 56 inches    frame depth: 5.5 inches

The Beasley-Weskett Collection. Gift of Clarence and Julia Beasley. 2002.100.1

Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN