10 April 2012
[CATLIN, George]. -- LINEN, George (1802-1888). Oval portrait of Mrs. Clara Bartlett Gregory Catlin. Circa 1840. Oil on linen, mounted on masonite, framed. Sight 140 x 130 mm.
Born in Greenlaw, Scotland, George Linen came to America in 1834 and established a painting career first in New York City. He had studied painting at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh and worked as a portrait painter in England for about ten years before immigrating. He opened a studio in New York City and became a successful painter of small-format portraits. He exhibited regularly between 1837 and 1843 at the Apollo Association and the National Academy of Design. Nine of his portraits were praised in the New-York Spectator on May 18, 1837, as "exceedingly well colored and carefully finished; and if Mr. Linen is young in the profession, as we suppose he is, they give promise of very high rank for him hereafter." Two years later, he received a silver medal from the National Academy of Design for his portrait of Henry Clay. Although he is known primarily as a portrait painter, Linen also painted landscapes after retiring to a farm in New Jersey in 1868.
Clara Bartlett Gregory met and married George Catlin in her hometown of Albany, New York in 1828, while he was there to paint Governor De Witt Clinton. Despite her frail health, she accompanied her husband on one of his five journeys west and supported his efforts to capture the likenesses of Native Americans. She and their youngest son died while visiting Paris in 1845, a loss that devastated the artist.
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