Portrait of a WomanArtist(s)Jacob MaentelObject Creation Date19th centuryMedium & Supportwatercolor on paperDimensions
11 5/8 in. x 8 11/16 in. ( 29.5 cm x 22.1 cm )Credit LineGift of The Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art CollectionLabel copy
Throughout his life, Jacob Maentel had several careers, not only as a painter but also a farmer and a physician. Born in Kassel, Germany he served as a solider and a secretary under Napoleon. It was during his time in Germany that he obtained his physician’s license. Sometime during the 1830's Maentel emigrated to the U.S. where he and his wife became part of the Harmonist movement. This new community was something similar to the Amish communities; both communities were guided by religious beliefs held by the occupants and everyone worked for the community as a whole. Maentel would remain here until his death.
Maentel painted portraits usually depicting the sitter in profile as was the fashion. "Maentel endowed his rural subjects with tiny feet and narrow bodies so that the costumes and profiles might be dominant against diminutive pastoral landscapes" art historian Mary Black commented. The profile portrait follows this formula. The figures are dainty and appear fragile with tiny features. The costumes are simple and quiet, and the backgrounds are subtle, subdued landscapes. In Maentel's portraits there is not any strong sense of individuality or emotion among the subjects. All subjects are similar in appearance with common features and characteristics. Occasionally there are some personal elements added as to the identity of the sitter. Due to his simple, direct style, Maentel’s works remain easily recognizable.
Modern and Contemporary Intern
2002Primary Object Classification Drawing Primary Object TypeportraitCollection AreaWesternRights
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