Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Mary McCall by Robert Feke, ca 1746 US (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Feke is considered the first important American-born artist. He developed a style that was distinct from the prevalent English technique practiced in the Colonies. This “native style” became popular, and Feke earned a living as an itinerant portraitist, traveling between Boston, Philadelphia, and Newport, Rhode Island. Little is known of Feke; his later life is particularly mysterious. After embarking from Newport in 1750, possibly bound for commissions in Barbados, he was never heard from again.
Mary McCall was a member of the Philadelphia Dancing Assembly, which hosted dances every two weeks and was a vital part of the social life of colonial Philadelphia. She holds a single flower, a common device in Feke’s portraits, in this case possibly indicating McCall’s availability for marriage. Seven years after this portrait was thought to have been painted, McCall married the merchant William Plumstead, whoserved as mayor of Philadelphia in the mid-1750’s.
Baroness Matilde Guiguer de Prangins in her Park at the Lake of Geneva by Jens Juel, 1779, Statens Museum for Kunst
Elizabeth, Countess of Warwick by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ca 1780 England, the Frick Collection
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire with Her Infant Daughter Lady Georgiana Cavendish by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1783 England, the Devonshire Collection
Lady Elizabeth Delmé and Her Children by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1777-79, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
The Artist and His Family by Jame Peale, 1795 US, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Madame de Saint-Huberty in the Role of Dido by Anne Vallayer-Coster, 1785 France, National Museum of Women in the Arts
Portrait of Princess Belozersky by Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, 1798, National Museum of Women in the Arts