This charming boy in green exhibits William Matthew Prior's success in capturing the sweetness and innocence of childhood. Prior followed a successful format in which he included with his subjects an accessory or object that identified their gender or their individual interests. In the present lot the boy holds a hammer and nails. Girls were often depicted with flowers and jewelry (see lot 182). Prior was able to paint in both an academic painterly manner as well as a more abstract, flat style. This portrait, like most of his portraits of children, is executed in the latter style. Prior advertised “persons wishing for a flat picture can have a likeness without a shade or shadow at one-quarter price” which catered to patrons who wanted to spend less money or time. This approach helped Prior create a prolific body of work and suggested that Prior consciously choose to paint within a flat stylized manner. For Prior art was a business and he successfully created a formula to attract many types of customers. These flat likeness works were often oil on cardboard or canvas and of a smaller size. The face of the sitter fills the plane and they gaze directly at the viewer. For additional information see Jacquelyn Oak and Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw, Artist and Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed (Cooperstown, 2012).