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Mrs. David Forman and Child

Charles Willson Peale

American Art

The wife of a wealthy Continental Army officer and the mother of eleven children, Mrs. David Forman was portrayed by Charles Willson Peale in an interior that was meant to suggest the elegance and bounty of her domestic life. She sits on a chair with scrolling acanthus leaves, alluding to ancient Greek and Roman decoration. The presence of the landscape painting behind her signaled the cultured life of the Forman household, and the gently idealized curves of its composition offered a parallel to the sitter’s natural feminine beauty and grace.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES ca. 1785
DIMENSIONS 51 × 39 3/8 in. (129.5 × 100 cm) frame: 56 × 44 1/2 × 2 1/2 in. (142.2 × 113 × 6.4 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver and Museum Collection Fund
PROVENANCE ca. 1785, commissioned from the artist by David Forman and Ann Marsh Forman (Mrs. David Forman) of Monmouth County, NJ; 1798, inherited from Ann Marsh Forman by Malvina Forman of Fauquier County, VA; between 1876 and 1913, provenance not yet documented; before 1913, acquired by George Latham Fletcher of Virginia; May 6, 1913, purchased from George Latham Fletcher by M. Knoedler & Co., New York, NY; January 20, 1923, purchased from M. Knoedler & Co. by the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741-1827). Mrs. David Forman and Child, ca. 1785. Oil on canvas, 51 × 39 3/8 in. (129.5 × 100 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver and Museum Collection Fund, 23.51 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 23.51_PS20.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 23.51_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2024
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