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 William Jewett  (1792 - 1874)

About: William Jewett
 

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Lived/Active: New York/New Jersey/Connecticut      Known for: portrait and still-life painting

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from Auction House Records.
Pioneer Portraits (a pair)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in East Haddam, Connecticut on January 14, 1792, William Jewett worked on his family farm until age 16 and then apprenticed as a paint mixer for a coachmaker in New London. In 1812, when he was age 20, he became a student of Samuel Waldo, and his acceptance of Waldo's invitation to come to New York caused Jewett to have to pay severance money to the coachmaker.

Jewett and Waldo painted together in the Hudson River Valley, and in 1818, relieved of his financial debt, Jewett went into a 34 year portrait painting partnership with Waldo. Known as Waldo & Jewett, the firm became highly successful with Waldo painting the heads and hands and Jewett doing the rest. Their portraits usually had co-signatures and have been described as "among the strongest and most solid and three-dimensional of the period, characterized by a broad painterliness and an optimistic, confident expression." (Baigell 365)

The assumption is that Waldo did the overall design, because he was the head of the company, and that Jewett filled in much of the remainder. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several of the joint portraits of these artists in their collection. However, the few portraits that remain that are solely by Jewett "are very competent portraits. (Baigell 365)

Jewett also did some still-life painting, which he exhibited at the American Academy of Fine Arts. In 1826, both Jewett and Waldo were elected to the newly founded National Academy of Design,  but Waldo and Jewett entered exhibitions in both entities until the American Academy was terminated in 1841.

In 1854, after his partnership with Waldo was dissolved, Jewett moved to his farm near Bergen, New Jersey. He also had a son, William Samuel Lyon Jewett, who was an artist.

Sources:
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Jonathan P. Harding, "William Jewett", Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925,  David Dearinger, Editor

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