No. 588: Portraits of Resistance, American miniatures

Episode No. 588 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features author Jennifer Van Horn and curator Betsy Kornhauser.

Van Horn is the author of “Portraits of Resistance: Activating Art During Slavery,” which was recently published by Yale University Press. The book investigates American portraiture, a discipline which until recently was dominated by European-American artists and their wealthy, self-image-creating clients. The book discovers within some of these portraits and the artists who made them histories of Black resistance, agency, viewership, and even iconoclasm. While the book primarily focuses on the era before the Civil War, it also reaches well into the twentieth century. Amazon and Indiebound offer “Portraits of Resistance” for about $60.

Kornhauser discusses a new installation of portraiture miniatures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American galleries. Portrait miniatures — often tiny watercolor pictures on ivory — were popular in the US in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The production of portrait miniatures was one form of production particularly open to women artists.

Air date: February 9, 2023.

Prince Demah, Portrait of William Duguid, 1773.

Edward Savage, The Washington Family, 1789-96.

Benjamin West, Guy Johnson & Karongheyontye, 1776, NGA before and after presumed cleaning.

Joseph Richardson, Sr., George Washington peace medal, 1793.

John Singleton Copley, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Izard (Alice Delancey), 1775.

Sarah Goodridge, Gilbert Stuart, ca. 1825.

Sarah Goodridge, Mrs. George Ingersoll (Martha Goldthwaite), ca. 1820.

Sarah Goodridge, Rose Prentice, 1837-38.

Sarah Goodridge, Beauty Revealed, 1828.

Mary Roberts, William Middleton, ca. 1752-58.

James Peale, Self-Portrait, 1789.

Anna Claypoole Peale, Unknown figure, 1832.

Edward Greene Malbone, Eye of Maria Miles Heyward, ca. 1802.

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