Child's Portrait

Object Details

Thomas Hunster
Between 1875 and 1929
oil on paper mounted to paperboard
17 3/4 × 15 3/16 × 1/4 in. (45.1 × 38.6 × 0.7 cm)
Thomas Watson Hunster (1851-1929) demonstrates finely-honed artistry in this portrait of a child, whose identity is unknown. The oval oil painting depicts a solemn child with brown eyes who stands while resting one arm on a red-draped ledge. The child’s auburn hair is parted to the side and hangs in shoulder-length ringlets. She wears a deep green tunic trimmed in ribbon, buttons, and short sleeves edged in white. A yellow buckle adorned with a laurel wreath fastens a wide belt at her waist. Though primarily a landscape painter, Professor Hunster took up portraiture for a period to become more adept at detail before returning to landscapes and still life paintings A 1951 solo exhibition of the artist’s works at Howard University’s Gallery of Art memorialized Professor Hunster as Washington, DC’s “Father of Art” for the influence of his innovative art curriculum on thousands of African American students in the city’s segregated public schools.
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