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 Pieter Vanderlyn  (1687 - 1778)

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Lived/Active: New York / Holland      Known for: naive portrait

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of Elizabeth "Betje" Van Dyck Vosburg
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A limner working in the vicinity of Albany and Kingston, New York, Pieter Vanderlyn was a portrait painter whose work is said to "overshadow the work of his contemporaries" because of characteristic "neatness, simplicity and economy of expression". (Black 41). Although the faces and figures are two-dimensional, he is credited with a richness of facial features that are divided down the middle from eyebrow to mouth. The hands tend to be large with carefully drawn fingers, and the paint is applied thinly and with restraint.

Twelve of the 20 portraits by him located so far have landscape backgrounds, often with the Hudson River, and 14 of the paintings have young people as subjects. However, his portraits are not signed, so researchers have had to use other means of identification, and many paintings that may be by him are listed as "attributed"

A biography of John Vanderlyn written by his friend Robert Gosman is in the State House Library in Kingston, New York. This document indicates he was born in Holland about 1687 and in 1718 became a member of the Dutch Reformed Church in New York. He married Gerretjen Van den Berg of Albany that same year, and he became a naturalized citizen in 1719.

The earliest portrait attributed to him is 1730, and most of his portrait subjects were from Kingston although some were also done in Albany. Kingston was burned by the British in 1777, so it is likely that some of his paintings were destroyed during that invasion. Vanderlyn moved to Shawangunck, New York to the house of his son, and died the following year.

Nina Fletcher Little, Essay in "American Folk Painters of Three Centuries", edited by Jean Lipman and Tom Armstrong
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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