Ammi Phillips

Apr 24, 1788 - Jul 11, 1865

Ammi Phillips was a prolific American itinerant portrait painter active from the mid 1810s to the early 1860s in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. His artwork is identified as folk art, primitive art, provincial art, and itinerant art without consensus among scholars, pointing to the enigmatic nature of his work and life. He is attributed to over eight hundred paintings, although only eleven are signed. While his paintings are formulaic in nature, Phillips paintings were under constant construction, evolving as he added or discarded what he found successful, while taking care to add personal details that spoke to the identity of those who hired him. He is most famous for his portraits of children in red, although children only account for ten percent of his entire body of work. The most well known of this series, Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog, would be sold for one million dollars, a first for folk art.
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