This work is one of six which form the largest intact group of family portraits painted in colonial North America. Stylistic and technical analyses suggest that they are all by Gerardus Duyckinck I, who followed his father into the family business of painting tavern and shop signs, carriages, household objects, and the occasional portrait.

The Levy-Franks family held a prominent place in New York's Jewish and mercantile communities. German-born Moses Levy and his family, including eldest daughter, Abigaill, immigrated to New York around 1704. Abigaill married Jacob Franks, scion of another important German-Jewish family. Abigaill and Jacob had nine children, five of whom are represented here.

Duyckinck's repeated use of blue, red, and brown in rendering costume and drapery as well as his repetition of poses and gestures throughout the canvases unify the group. The works are further connected by their stylistic origins in contemporary portraits of the British aristocracy, which colonial artists knew from imported engravings. Duyckinck's reliance on prints may account for the flat quality of his figures.


  • Title: Mrs. Jacob Franks (Abigail Levy)
  • Creator: Gerardus Duyckinck I
  • Date Created: 1735
  • Physical Dimensions: 45 1/4 x 35 13/16 in. (114.9 x 91 cm)
  • Provenance: commissioned by the Franks Family; by descent to Captain Naphtali Taylor Phillips [1868-1955], by 1896; given to American Jewish Historical Society, 1952; to (Sotheby's Inc., New York, NY), 2005; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2005
  • Subject Keywords: portraits, women
  • Rights: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.
  • External Link: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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