Friday, July 22, 2011

The Little Farmer

Here is a small watercolor, about 4" x 7", that I have always liked. It was purchased from a landlady in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Jean Lipman in the 1940s, with little or no history as to who painted it and where it was from. It has been in the Fenimore Art Museum collection since 1950.

It depicts a small farmstead with a nice house (possibly stone with tile shingles), a well, and a farmer holding a two-pronged pitchfork and walking a dog on a leash. That's about all we know, believe it or not. The painting has always been called "The Amish Farmer" owing to the distinctive beard and hat of the man, but that is a tenuous identification at best.

All that aside, the little watercolor has out-sized charm, doesn't it? We displayed it in our folk art gallery last year and it received considerable attention. I was hoping that someone would provide some clue to its origin, but, alas, it remains one of our anonymous treasures.

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