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)

PAPER PROFILES: AMERICAN PORTRAIT SILHOUETTES

PENLEY KNIPE



NOTES

1. With silhouettes bearing the name of Master Hubard, it is safest to assign them to the Hubard Gallery, as it is difficult to determine who did the actual cutting, unless the silhouette is clearly early (and then it is by Master Hubard). Hubard, born in England ca. 1807, began cutting at or around the age of 13. After creating a stir in the British Isles as a child prodigy, he came to New York in 1824 with a Mr. Smith, Hubard's sponsor who ran the “Gallery of Cuttings and Panharmonicum.” The gallery was a collection of various paper silhouettes by Hubard of people, animals, architecture, etc., and the Panharmonicum was reputed to be a musical mechanism that could play 206 instruments. In 1825 the show went to Boston; the Gallery of Cuttings and Panharmonicum was advertised regularly in Boston papers until April 1826.Hubard was probably no longer associated with Smith and the gallery after January 1828. The Gallery of Cuttings and Panharmonicum continued on. Master Hanks took over that same year, and it is likely that Hanks left by 1829. There was apparently a group of young cutters associated with the gallery, so again, a Hubard Gallery attribution is the most secure way to assign these works. Many thanks to the Laughons for telling me about cutters other than Hanks and Hubard (Laughon and Laughon 1997).The Hubard Gallery cutout silhouettes are made from matte, black-coated, white wove paper mounted to a secondary support, often a card. The gallery produced full-length and bust silhouettes. The full-length silhouettes on card often have a watercolor wash including a shadow underneath the sitter. Not infrequently, the silhouettes were modestly decorated with a gold colorant to emphasize buttons, collars, etc.

2. The stationers' and artists' material catalogs examined at the American Antiquarian Society included Cotton, Boston, 1830, 1839, and 1850; M. J. Whipple, Boston, 1851; Frost and Adams, Boston, 1875; Gibbs Brothers, Holyoke, Mass., n.d.; Wheeler and Whitney, Boston, ca. 1860; Marshall A. Lewis Co., n.d.; H. Cohen, Philadelphia, 1859; N. E. News Company, Boston, 1873; John E. Pettybone, Chicago, n.d.; Corlies Macy and Co., New York, 1874; Louis Snider, Cincinnati, n.d.; Willy Wallachs, New York, 1874. I am grateful to Judy Walsh for pointing me in the direction of the AAS.

3. For an excellent discussion of tracing machines, see Miles 1994 and Benes 1994. Benes includes a useful index of artists and dates with the names of the tracing devices they used.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sincere thanks are due to many people who were helpful with this project: Cliff Ackley, Robert Baldwin, Georgia Barnhill, Craigen Bowen, Matt Cutler, Michele Derrick, Sarah Dove, Anne Driesse, Margaret Holben Ellis, Manfred Engeli, Theresa Fairbanks, Elizabeth Fairman, Eugene Farrell, Richard Field, Betty Fiske, Robin Jaffe Frank, Robin Hanson, Dana Hemmenway, Lisa Hodermarsky, John Krill, Helen and Nel Laughon, Carol Lebeaux, Annette Manick, Lance Mayer, Lillian Miller, Erica Mosier, Gay Myers, Richard Newman, Gisela Noack, Debbie Hess Norris, Roy Perkinson, Sue Welsh Reed, William Robinson, Edward Saywell, Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw, Helen Sheumaker, Jane Smith Stewart, Miriam Stewart, Neville Thomson, Teri Vienot, Ann Wagner, Judy Walsh, Jenna Webster, and Virginia Whelan. I am also indebted to Daniel Abramson for his patient assistance and encouragement.



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FURTHER READING

An American heritage: American silhouettes. 1973. Hagerstown, Md.: Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

Antiques. 1938. Profilist's progress. Antiques13(3):149–50.

Blattel, H.1992. International dictionary: Miniature painters, porcelain painters, silhouettists. Munich: Arts and Antiques Edition.

Brinton, A. C.1964. Quaker profiles, pictorial and biographical: 1750–1850. Lebanon, Pa.: Pendle Hill Publications.

Carrick, A. van L.1968. A history of American silhouettes: A collector's guide, 1790–1840. Rutland, Vt.: Charles E. Tuttle Co.

Columbian Museum. 1804. Columbian Museum, Milk-Street, Boston. Broadside, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

The dictionary of art. 1996. New York: Macmillan Publishers. 28:713–14.

Dunlap, W.1834. History of the rise and progress of the arts of design in the United States. New York: G. P. Scott and Co.

Fouratt, M. E.1984. Ruth Henshaw Bascom, itinerant portraitist. In Itinerancy in New England and New York, ed. P.Benes. Boston: Boston University and Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife Annual Proceedings. 190–211.

Forgione, N.1999. “The shadow only”: Shadow and silhouette in late nineteenth-century Paris. Art Bulletin81:490–512.

Grant, J., and J.Fiske. 1887–89. Appleton's cyclopaedia of American biography. New York: D. Appleton and Co.

Groce, G. C., and D. H.Wallace. 1957. The New-York Historical Society's dictionary of artists in America, 1564–1860. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Guyton, W. L., and J. M.Koenig. 1980. A basic guide to identifying and evaluating American silhouettes. Waynesboro, Pa.: Renfrew Museum and Park.

Harrison, A. H.1916. The history of silhouettes and how to make them. St. Louis: Freelance Publicity and Syndicating Bureau of St. Louis.

Hickman, P.1975. Silhouettes: A living art. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Hickman, P.1980. The Andrews collection of silhouettes. Connoisseur295:237–41.

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Johnson, A., ed.1961. Dictionary of American biography. New York: Scribner's.

Knittle, R. M.1937. Early Ohio taverns; tavern-sign, stage-coach, barge, banner chair and settee painters. Ashland, Ohio: Southworth-Anthoensen Press.

Laliberté, N., and A.Mogelon. 1968. Silhouettes, shadows, and cut-outs. New York: Reinhold Book Corp.

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SOURCES OF MATERIALS

TrueCore Card Stock for backing hollow-cuts, item 7670

Light Impressions P.O. Box 22708 Rochester, N.Y. 14692–2708


AUTHOR INFORMATION

PENLEY KNIPE has a B.A. in anthropology from St. Lawrence University (1987) and an M.S. from Winterthur Museum/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (1997). She was an advanced-level intern at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard University Art Museums in 1997–98 and the Claire W. and Richard P. Morse Fellow in Paper Conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1998–99. Since the fall of 1999 she has been an assistant conservator of works of art on paper in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies. Address: Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard University Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Mass. 02138; e-mail: knipe@fas.harvard.edu.


Copyright © 2002 American Institution for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works