But it is the opinions of the elder Holmes that concern us today, and it appears that he felt the works of folk portraitists were a clear and present danger to American society. Here is what he had to say about these traveling artists in The Atlantic Monthly in July of 1861:
"[these are the] wandering Thugs of Art whose murderous doings with the brush used frequently to involve whole families; who passed from one country tavern to another, eating and painting their way - feeding a week upon the landlord, another week upon the landlady, and two or three days apiece upon the children, as the walls of those hospitable edifices too frequently testify even to the present day."
This was so good we had to use it in our catalogue for the William Matthew Prior exhibition. But as someone who has spent a good part of his life studying and exhibiting this artwork, I can only be grateful that this is one majority opinion that has been dramatically overturned in our time.