Francis William Edmonds (1806-1863)
This lot is exempt from Sales Tax. Property Sold by the Order of the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago*
Francis William Edmonds (1806-1863)

Sammy the Tailor

Francis William Edmonds (1806-1863)
Sammy the Tailor
oil on canvas
9¾ x 11¾ in. (24.8 x 29.9 cm.)
Painted in 1836.
The artist.
Nora H. Edmonds, daughter of the artist.
Cecil Coudert, daughter of the above.
Paul Bigelow, son of the above.
Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York.
Acquired by the present owner, 1987.
M. Mann, exhibition catalogue, Francis William Edmonds, Washington, D.C., 1975, pp. 12-13, illustrated.
M. Mann, Francis William Edmonds: Mammon and Art, New York, 1977, pp. 15-16.
H.N.B. Clark, exhibition catalogue, Francis W. Edmonds: American Master in the Dutch Tradition, Washington, D.C., 1988, pp. 40-41, fig. 10.
New York, The National Academy of Design, 1836.
International Exhibitions Foundation, Francis William Edmonds, 1975-76, no. 3.
Fort Worth, Texas, Amon Carter Museum and elsewhere, Francis Williams Edmonds: American Master in the Dutch Tradition, January 9-June 19, 1988.
Special notice
This lot is exempt from Sales Tax.

Lot Essay

Francis William Edmonds began his career as a banker in New York, a career that temporarily forced him to abandon his passion as a painter. In 1836 he renewed his interest with art and painted the present work for the exhibition at the National Academy. As noted by H. Nichols Clark, "Not, however, confident enough to show it under his own name, he used a pseudonym. Visitors to the exhibition were led to believe that the charming little picture Sammy the Tailor was by the heretofore unknown E.F. Williams. The painting was praiseworthy, the critic for the Knickerbocker observed: 'Good again; very good. Sammy is clearly in the full tide of inspiration, and the gentleman who took his portrait has done him ample justice.'

[As with previous works] Edmonds relied on a literary source, a passage from Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies:
Says Sammy the Tailor to me
As he sat with his spindles cross-ways
'Tis bekase I'm a poet you see,
That I kiver my head with breen baize.

...Edmonds placed Sammy in an uncluttered, neutral setting. It is a somewhat ambiguous space that takes on the character of a bas-relief. The artist focused his attention on Sammy's cross-legged pose, creating a lively dynamic between Sammy's pyramidal head and torso and the interlocking diagonals of his legs. The paint is handled with facility and with a remarkable sensitivity to texture. The notices tacked to the wall on the right in the picture and the shears, ink bottle, quill, and sheaf of papers on the lower left are painted with great dexterity, anticipating Edmonds's later fondness for still-life elements. The colors, too, are deft. They are bold and clear; the red of Sammy's apron was to become a recurrent feature in Edmonds's oeuvre. Edmonds was surprised by Sammy the Tailor's warm reception and encouraged by its success to continue to paint." (Francis W. Edmonds: American Master in the Dutch Tradition, Washington, D.C., 1988, p. 40-41)

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