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 John Mare  (1739 - 1795)

About: John Mare


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Lived/Active: New York/North Carolina      Known for: naive portrait, trompe still life

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John Mare
An example of work by John Mare
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A Colonial artist, John Mare left only thirteen paintings that have been documented, although it is said he painted about 20 canvases. His painting of John Keteltas with a fly sitting on the cuff of the subject is likely the first "trompe l'oeil" (fool the eye) painting in America.

Nothing is known of his art training. From 1759 to 1778, he was active in Albany, New York, and between 1769 and 1771, he was in Montreal, Canada where he painted a portrait, of Rene-Ovide Hertel de Rouville, one of the first two French-Canadian judges to be named by the British. This painting is in the McCord Museum of Canadian History in Montreal. He was also active in New York City between 1760 and 1772 and painted many prominent residents of the city and landowners along the Hudson River.

One of his subjects was King George III, a painting that is lost but was commissioned by the Common Council of New York City.

In 1772, he moved to Albany, and then between 1777 and 1778, gave up painting and moved to Edenton, North Carolina and became a successful businessman, as well as postmaster, justice of the peace and town treasurer. However, at the time of his death in 1802, he had little money.

An illustration of a John Mare painting may be found in the November 1970 issue of "Antiques" magazine

His work is in the collections of the New York Historical Society, the Metropolitan Museum and Historic Deerfield.

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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John Mare is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Trompe l'Oeil Painting

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