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One Shoe Off
One Shoe Off
In One Shoe Off, Brewster expresses the delicate features and playful innocence of childhood. Traces of red paint visible underneath the paint surface of the bare left foot suggest that the artist placed the red shoe in the child's hand as an afterthought. The patterned floor is an embellishment Brewster often employed in his portraits of children; the stenciled design amusingly mimics the tied bow of the sitter's right shoe. While the sitter has not been conclusively identified, an inscription on the reverse suggests that this portrait descended in the Avery, Chapman, Loomer, or Vergason families of Norwich, Connecticut. Loaned by Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark, N0231.1961 John Brewster, Jr. was deaf-mute from birth. He studied painting under Rev. Joseph Steward (1753-1822) and began to paint professionally by the early 1790s in the area around his native Hampton, Connecticut. By 1796, he relocated to Buxton, Maine, where he lived between periods of itinerancy. Brewster was enrolled in the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons from 1817 until 1820, after which he resumed his career as a painter. Throughout his successful career, Brewster traveled widely in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and eastern New York State.
depth 2.5 in ; height 38.75 in ; width 28.5 in