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 Sturtevant J. Hamblen  (fl. 1837-1856)

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Lived/Active: Maine/Massachusetts      Known for: naive portrait, child figure painting

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Ad Code: 3
Sturtevant J Hamblen
from Auction House Records.
Rosy-cheeked young girl wearing a lace-trimed white dress
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following is from Peter Kostoulakos, AOA, NEAA:  Fine Art Consultant

Sturtevant J. Hamblin Act. 1837-1856

Sturtevant J. Hamblin worked as a portrait painter in Portland, Maine and, sometime around 1839, he was working in Boston, Massachusetts with his family. His facts are a little vague and can be confusing. His last name is sometimes spelled Hamblen and he is sometimes listed as L. J. Hamblin. His birth and death dates are also varied: ArtCyclopedia has 1817-1884, Davenports has 1823-1856, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Smithsonian have him as active 1837-1856.

Hamblin’s style is listed as Primitive but today the style of artists without formal training is referred to as Folk Art or Naive Art — a very desirable style for private collectors and museums. Sturtevant worked with his brothers Eli, Joseph, Nathaniel, and their sister Rosamond, wife of William Matthew Prior. When Rosamond married Prior, the Hamblins and the Priors joined forces and had a family art business. Their art styles, as well as many other New England Folk Artists of that era, are very similar and virtually indistinguishable. Today, most unsigned paintings done in this style are commonly referred to as the Prior-Hamblin School. According to Who Was Who in American Art, all of the painting Hamblin’s, except for Eli, who died in 1839, moved to Boston. Sturtevant was listed as a portrait painter in Boston until 1856, when he and Joseph went into the men’s furnishings business.

His work, mostly portraits of babies and children alone or with their mothers, and family portraits, can be seen in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Delaware; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Cornell University, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY; and Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine.

 
Sources:
Who Was Who in American Art, 1999, page 1434; Davenport's Art Reference, 2006/2007Edition, page 940; Dealer's Choice Biographical Encyclopedia of American Painters... 2002 page 580; NYHS Dictionary of American Artists 1564-1860, Groce & Wallace, pages 286-87; Smithsonian Institution Research Information System; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, collections web page; ArtCyclopedia web site.

Peter Kostoulakos, AOA, NEAA — Fine Art Consultant


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Painter Sturtevant Hamblen's birth and death dates are unknown, as is the place of his birth, but he is believed to have been active from around 1823 to 1856. Much of this evidence is circumstantial, based on known facts of other family members.

Hamblen was a portrait painter in the primitive style who worked in Maine, if the activities of his sister, Rosamond, and his three brothers are any indication. She was from Bath, Maine at the time of her marriage in 1828 to another portrait painter, William Matthew Prior. Hamblen's three artist-craftsmen brothers, Joseph, Eli and Nathaniel, are said to have worked from 1823 until 1839 in Portland, Maine, but they may not have moved there until sometime between 1831 and 1834. Prior evidently moved there as well, because records indicate he was living with Nathaniel in Portland in 1834, as Sturtevant and Joseph were living with him in that city in 1836.

The Hamblens and Prior worked together as "house, sign and fancy painters," according to records. However, Sturtevant Hamblen remains a shadowy figure even in his artwork. Since his style was quite similar to Prior's, not many of Hamblen's portraits can be identified with certainty.

To further complicate matters, Sturtevant Hamblen may have followed the same practice as his brother-in-law, Prior, who painted his portraits in two styles: a less expensive two-dimensional style, and a pricier, thoroughly developed and modeled three-dimensional style. And both artists were the first to paint background ships and telescopes in their portraits of sea captains.

Source:

Michael David Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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