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 Abiah S. (Hiller) Warren  (early 19th century)

About: Abiah S. (Hiller) Warren


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Lived/Active: New Hampshire/New York      Known for: folk art portrait painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New Hampshire, Abiah Warren became a folk art portrait painter.  She studied at the Chesterfield Academy in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, which at that time was considered one of the best schools in the state.  In her late teens, she became a school teacher and pursued that career for the remainder of her life. When she was age thirty-one, she took up portrait painting, and when school was not in session, she traveled throughout New Hampshire in search of commissions.  From her diary entries, it appears that her first commission was on March 11, 1837, and was the drawing of a corpse from a tomb image. 

In 1838, she moved with her parents to McDonough, New York, and established a school in their home.  Her father died in 1842, and she married a former student, William Hiller, who was fourteen years younger than she.  They had two daughters and a less-than-prosperous farm, and William left for four years in California during the Gold Rush.  During that time Abiah ran her school and painted portraits, something she continued to do after his return and into the 1850s.

Michaeal R. Payne and Suzanne Rudnick Payne, "A woman could paint likeness?", The Magazine Antiques, January 2009.

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