Portrait of ELIZABETH (BETSY) MYGANS
Saugerties, New York, ca. 1834. Oil on canvas.
As described by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: “In the 1830’s, Phillips was the most successful portraitist on the New York-Connecticut border, painting the local gentry with boldness and withering honesty. This portrait of a young woman from Saugerties, New York, is typical of Phillip’s work of this period—the sitter leans forward in her chair, the black-and-white color scheme is enlivened by the red-and-yellow book, and the ribbons and folds of her translucent, lace-trimmed bonnet complement her elaborate hair style. However, Elizabeth Mygans seems to have charmed the painter, for her portrait is more pleasing than most”.
Terrific condition with very minor in-painting. Retains the original black-painted and gilt-trimmed frame. Lined on a new stretcher. About 31 ¾ x 26 ¾ inches sight size; frame about 37 ¼ x 32 ½.
As indicated by the MFA, Betsy is a very pleasant young woman, with soft face and lovely blue eyes, while the bold splashes of color from her books proudly communicate her education.
Provenance includes: Avis and Rockwell Gardiner, Stamford, Connecticut; Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, Important American Folk Art and Furniture: The Distinguished Collection of the Late Stewart E. Gregory, Wilton, Connecticut, January 27, 1979; Joan R. Brownstein Arts and Antiques, Newburyport, Massachusetts; Private Virginia collection.
Exhibitions: Hartford, Connecticut, Connecticut Historical Society, A Centennial Exhibition of Paintings at the Society, November 1, 1965 - February 1, 1966; Wilton, Connecticut, Wilton Historical Society, 1977-1978; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, American Folk, April 8 - August 5, 2001.
Published: Barbara C. and Lawrence B. Holdridge, Ammi Phillips: Portrait Painter 1788-1865, (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1968) p. 54; Frontispiece, 'American Portraits in Wilton' Exhibition pamphlet, Wilton Heritage Museum, Wilton Connecticut; Antiques and Fine Art, July 2010, A Contemporary home for a Classic Collection (pictured close-up and in situ).