American primitive (naive) artist Noah North painted many portraits, including families and children. Although he did not master perspective well, his detailed paintings provide a good record of early 19th century fashions before photography was developed and fully developed. As with many primitive artists, there is little information available. His strongest affiliation was with New York. He often included animals in his portraits. His career was affected by the development of photography. But in the years mid-19th century before photography hd tkeb hold, especiallyh in the 1830s and 40s, North provides some important images of childrn's clothing and of course his portraits unlike the photography of the day tells us about color.
Noah North was born in Alexander, New York. He is a relatively unknown
portraitist whose career appaes to have lasted only about a decade. He worked in the areas of upstate New York around Alexander, Holley and Rochester. He also worked in Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as Kentucky. He came from a prominent New York family involved in community life. His community work was better known thatn his painting skill. His interest in art may have been inspired by Van Rensselaer Hawkins, an art teacher who came to Alexander. His portraits are strinkingly similar to those of those of Ammi Phillips, a New York and Connecticut painter who may have influenced him. He was also an associate of Milton William Hopkins, another painter, and may have boarded with him. His style is simple linear without perspective as was associated with the early New England limners. The first dated portrait of North is 1833, and is numbered 11, suggesting that 10 others preceded it. No signed portraits exist from the 1840s. Like many naive painters, there ability to sell portraits was impaired by the developmentbof photography in the 1940s. His portraits are generally of a single sibject, often holding an animal. Faces are usuallt brightly lit against a dark background.
His career was affected by the development of photography. But in the years mid-19th century before photography hd tkeb hold, especiallyh in the 1830s and 40s, North provides some important images of childrn's clothing and of course his portraits unlike the photography of the day tells us about color.
North painted Pierrepont Edward Lacey and his dog, Gun in 1836. The boys wears an elaborately frilled collar. The black suit does not show well on the black background, but Edward appears to be wearing a tunic with button detailing. Note the puff sleeves. He is wearing his tunic with matching long black trousers. His bright red shoes which appear to be pumps are destinct. The age of the children is difficult to estimate in primative paintings. The dog looks like a boxer. Using this as a size reference, the boy is probably 6-7 years old, but that is only a rough guess.
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