Rare Hollow Cut and Watercolor Silhouette
att: Puffy Sleeve Artist
This wonderful piece of American Folk Art is a rarity among silhouettes, circa 1830 and is attributed to the Puffy Sleeve Artist. We believe this work is by the Puffy Sleeve Artist, for the following reasons. And, while there are significant differences in the two works, there are enough similarities to warrant the attribution. (See the Supplement to A Loving Likeness, American Folk Portraits of the Nineteenth Century Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (1992), page 5. In the Supplement there is a Silhouette of a boy standing on his dog that is attributed to the Puffy Sleeve artist and his costume is almost identical to the Silhouette above, including the short sleeves. In another example of a Triptych that features three boys, the two youngest both have the short sleeves while the older boy has the Leg o'Mutton sleeve that the Puffy is noted for.We know of one other example that features the same dress and jewellery as found on the Silhouette on page 51 of Miss Boynton only this example has the short sleeves and the bare arms. and has a Puffy Sleeve attribution. It would seem reasonable that the artist would paint in the same style, even to using the same type dress and props, but in the case of painting a younger person he modified the sleeve as they would not be wearing the Leg o' Mutton sleeve and a lot of jewelery.
Unlike the body of work recognized as by the Puffy Sleeve Artist, this lovely young woman:
Does not have a long puffy sleeve . . . she has a short sleeve with a bare arm.
She also appears to be more elegant and refined, yet still retains the folksiness we appreciate
Unlike the Puffy Sleeve, her hands are hidden, not naively painted as with the Puffy Sleeve
Unlike the Puffy Sleeve, she does not hold an accessory in her hand.
But, her hollow cut head sits high atop her long neck with a gorgeous fancy white ruff with painted ornamentation and a lovely red ribbon. Her dress is a vibrant blue that appears to be watered silk, giving texture to the presentation. Her hair comb sits high atop her head, cut into the hollow cut. She is facing right, three-quarter length and wears a belt on a similarly styled dress as the Puffy Sleeve (minus the long leg-o-mutton sleeve.) Her hair is painted around the edges of her well-defined hollow cut head. But her crowning glory is the wonderful hair ornamentation painted atop her head! No identified Puffy Sleeve silhouette has this wonderful, inventive painted ornamentation which appears to include a smaller painted comb as well as red, blue and black flowers in her hair. Absolutely wonderful! She resides in a period pressed brass over wood frame and the framed size is 4 1/2" x 5 1/8".