JAIC 2002, Volume 41, Number 3, Article 1 (pp. 203 to 223)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 2002, Volume 41, Number 3, Article 1 (pp. 203 to 223)




Silhouettes played an important role in portraiture in the United States in the last decades of the 18th century through the mid-19th century, and they continue to be made today, though far less frequently. Paper silhouettes were an economically reasonable alternative to portraits painted in oil and portrait miniatures. For many, silhouettes were the first type of portraiture available to them: the price was within reach, the artists traveled to their areas, the medium was popular as well as fashionable, and, in many cases, the silhouette remains as the sole portrait of an individual. The materials used reflect well the vast array of people making silhouettes. This technical investigation gives substance to the impression that silhouette cutting was a widespread popular art produced by many types of artists and others from the broadest range of materials.

Copyright 2002 American Institution for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works