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 John Valentine Haidt  (1700 - 1780)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: religious figure-genre, portrait

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Moravian painter John Valentine Haidt was born October 4, 1700 in Gdansk (Danzig), Poland. He studied at the Royal Art Academy in Berlin from 1710 to 1714, and with his father, a court jeweller to the Prussian court.

After studying painting in Venice, Rome, and Paris, he settled in London where, attracted to the Moravian sect, he became both a preacher and a painter. In 1740 he united with the Moravian church in the community of Herrnhaag, Germany and devoted himself to painting oil portraits of the clergymen and other pictures, most of which were scripture scenes.

In 1754 he emigrated to America and settled in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the center of the sect's American activities. He was ordained a deacon of the church and began to preach through the middle colonies as an evangelist at the same time continuing to paint.

Thirty of his religious works and forty of his portraits survive today and are primarily located in the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, and the Moravian Historical Museum in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Twelve of Haidt's paintings from the first church edifice at Bethlehem depicting the life of Jesus were sold, many years ago to a dealer, who realized their value.

In the portraits, Haidt relied on stock formulas for the poses and cast of the facial features, most noticeably the longish noses and the favored red-brown color schemes. Despite the family resemblances of his sitters, he managed to give them a lively sense of character, in part because their eyes invariably stare at the viewer, and their mouths are turned up in slight smiles. John Valentine Haidt died in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on January 18, 1780.

Source: Matthew Baigell, "Dictionary of American Artists"

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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