Jon Berg Fine Art
American 1840's early portrait painting of a man

American 1840's early portrait painting of a man

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Directory: Fine Art: Paintings: Oil: N. America: American: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 1422082

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Jon Berg Fine Art and More
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2311 Schader Dr. #310
Santa Monica, CA 90404

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Found in far northern Vermont in the course of an art buying trip some years ago, is this unframed 20" by 16" oil on canvas portrait of a man, apparently signed "Shoelman" at lower right and signed again and dated on the reverse (possibly, 1806, though, more likely, 1846, considering the style---the digit likely a "4"). I acquired the painting near Cambridge/Jeffersonville not far from the Canadian border. At the time the seller said there had been speculation by a previous owner that this was a portrait of Prophet Joseph Smith of Mormon fame (who was born further south, in Sharon, VT in 1805, died 1844). I recently reached out to historians/archivists at the Church of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City to learn if this might indeed be a portrait of the Prophet, Joseph Smith. In a well-researched reply, the church librarians/historians state that they do not see any evidence that this is a portrait of the venerated Joseph Smith of LDS history. They suggest it could just be of a man named Joseph Smith, from Vermont, that story having been corrupted somewhat, as it passed down from generation to generation. I have found no known artist by the name of Shoelman (I also tried J Hoelman). ****Please note that the work has a number of condition issues---losses, paint instability and so forth, as shown.**** It is in need of restoration, even though it has evidently had some in the past, perhaps not of optimum quality.