Silhouettes

Scarce American Hollow-Cut Folk Silhouette with Lithograph Dress
  • I love these lithograph body folk silhouettes and get them whenever I can. This lady with a handkerchief is a nice one with her dress and the bow tied at her neck painted in a burnt sienna to Indian red. Her lace pelerine and handkerchief are unpainted. This lady has a very nice dress with gigot (aka leg-of mutton) sleeves (full and stuffed above from the shoulder and gradually decreasing in size until fitting tightly at the wrist). Like almost every one of these litho ladies, her body has been expertly cut out and pasted onto the paper under her hollow cut head & neck. (Oddly, the even scarcer litho bodied men were seldom cut out.) The young lady’s profile is nicely executed with a tiny cut eyelash over a delicate nose and mouth. She wears a high comb with a hair roll in the front (à la the Apollo knot that was so popular from 1824 until 1836). This really a marvelous American folk silhouette and probably a bit different than the litho-body ladies you’ve seen in the past. I also must tell you that while all the litho bodies I’ve seen with women have similar dresses but none is exactly like another. There is always a different hand placement or a slightly different sleeve or pelerine or brooch. I’ll add some photos of litho bodies from my past to show you the differences. The hands on these litho bodies are always graceful. Oddly, the artist left the very bottom of the woman’s dress unpainted. It must have originally been concealed under a frame or verre églomisé mat. Although the gilt frame and the églomisé mat appear to be period (with restoration to the glass reverse-painting), this lack of watercolor at the bottom of the dress tells me that the lady did not begin life in this frame (which reminds me to tell you not to assume a frame is “original” absent some evidence other than that it is period and original size). The silhouette is in very good condition except for a bit of toning, a small tear from the top corner of her comb up which travels up through the edge of the painted glass, and some nibbles to the paper around the cut edge of her hair knot, nose and chin. The tears and nibbles are hard to see unless closely inspecting. In fact, I did not notice them until I enlarged the photos—ahh, the wonders of photography in emphasizing condition (unless the photos are doctored to conceal condition). This lovely lady resides in a period water-gilded frame that has some beautiful soft wear showing the bole underneath and also some harsher wear that allows some of the gesso and wood to show (especially along the right stick of the frame and at the very edges. The frame measures 5” x 6”. Circa 1830. Folk silhouettes were generally done with cheaper paper (poor itinerant artists) that degraded more quickly. This one is really in great condition for a folk silhouette. Grab her while she’s available!

    #5980    $1250