Oriental Girl w Fan (Attributed to Esther Hunt)
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Directory: Fine Art: Paintings: Oil: N. America: American: Pre 1900: Item # 580721
PO Box 480
Bonsall, California 92003
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This original painting on thin stretched linen on canvas measures 7 by 11 inches, including the bamboo style wooden frame it sits in.
The subject is a young Chinese girl in a colorful robe holding a fan made of peacock feathers.
This painting is in "As Found" condition which means it needs some level of restoration. The painting shows a heavy level of crackle (similar to that found on old Chinese ceramics. It also has a 3 to 4 inch split along the right side. There are a few other other small problems in this painting. It will require some restoration, but will be worth it. This little gem will be a classic after restoration. However,it is being sold AS-IS, due to it's current condition.
It is unsigned but there are Chinese characters on the reverse stretcher, which may be the equivalent of a signature.
An attribution to Esther Hunt can be made based on age, size, subject matter, location, and style of painting. A very similar painting, signed Esther Hunt, recently sold at John Moran Auctions in Pasadena (See the last photo).
Biography of Esther Hunt ( from Askart.com)
Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, Esther Hunt became a painter focused on Oriental themes, especially portraits and figures she did from models that she found in Chinatown in San Francisco.
She spent some of her early childhood in Columbus, Nebraska. Her father, Stephen Barton, died when she was four years old in 1879, and two years later her mother remarried, and the family went to California.
Her stepfather, Captain John A. Frazier, took his wife and her children to San Diego County where he acquired 700 acres and established the town of Carlsbad. In 1893, the family moved to Los Angeles, and from 1896 to 1900, Esther Hunt was listed in the City Directory as an artist.
In 1901 she enrolled at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco, and financed her education with paintings of Chinatown child genre figures and portraits. They became popular and widely circulated when she perfected a color process to make reproductions, which featured the colorful costumes of the children. A marketing agent sold them in the East.Making money, she traveled to New York City and enrolled in the Art Students League from 1903 to 1905 and studied with William Merritt Chase in New York and in Paris for six years. In Paris she studied portraiture.
During her career, she had studios in Los Angeles from 1913-1918, San Francisco from 1918 to 1926, Greenwich Village in New York from 1927 to 1931, San Francisco from 1932 to 1945, and Santa Ana until her death in 1951.
When she returned to Los Angeles in 1913, she again took up her interest in Chinese subjects and made many painting trips to San Francisco. Settling there in 1918, she devoted most of her attention to Oriental subjects and had a nation-wide market for her paintings, prints, postcards, and colored ceramic figurines. She also did portraits of children in France, beach scenes at Laguna and Native American women and children from the Pomo of northern California.
Exhibitions included the San Francisco Art Association, Panama-California Exposition and the Paris Salon. __________________________________________________