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Home | Articles | Rare Double Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. William Vaughan of Aurora, Illinois

Sold to a private collector
A rare double portrait of Mr. and Mrs. William Vaughan of Aurora, Illinois
Painted by Sheldon Peck (1797–1868)
Circa 1845
Oil on canvas, in the original grain-painted frame decorated by Peck
30 x 34 inches
Courtesy of Frank & Barbara Pollack, Highland Park, Illinois

This portrait is truly an icon of American painting and a masterpiece of Illinois folk art. It is one of only five known multiple full-length portraits by Peck, four of which are currently in museum collections. Evident is the serious and intense look Peck gave to his subjects, almost as if he sculpted the figures, chiseling out their distinct features. The inclusion of decorative objects and an elaborate and richly painted background add to the overall uniqueness of this work.

This painting was previously owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Barenholtz and was one of the quintessential pieces of their collection. It has been exhibited in many fine museums including the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. It has also been illustrated in many folk art publications and magazines including Fales, American Painted Furniture 1660–1880 (N.Y., 1972).

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