Sat, Oct 6, 2018 10:00AM EDT
Oliver Frazer (American, 1808-1864). Oil on canvas, housed in a gilt frame with oval opening, unsigned; 23.25 x 19.5 in. (sight), 32 x 28 in. (frame).
Matthew Scott Skillman was the son of Henry Martin Skillman and his wife Margaret Scott. His grandfather, Thomas T. Skillman, was one of the earliest printers and publishers in the Lexington area. His mother's family were well placed in the banking and medical professions in Fayette County. Through these connections, she met her husband, a graduate of Transylvania University, and noted physician. This portrait was painted towards the end of Frazer's life, at a time when his vision was dimming and his portraits taking on a haunting, somber tone. Both artist and subject were to die within a year of each other.
Oliver Frazer (1808-1864) was born in Fayette County, Kentucky. Familiar with the work of Matthew Harris Jouett and Thomas Sully, Frazer also studied in Paris with Antoine-Jean Gros in 1834. While there, he met Thomas Couture and G. P. A. Healy. Upon his return to Lexington in 1838, he opened a studio and quickly became a recognized portraitist in the area, especially known for his portraits of Henry Clay's family. He also married Matthew Harris Joust's niece, Martha Bell Mitchell.
Food, William Barrow. Jouett-Bush-Frazer, Early Kentucky Artists, Lexington, KY: 1968.
Pennington, Estill Curtis. Lessons in Likeness: Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802-1920, The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington: 2011.
This catalog entry was written by Estill Curtis Pennington, of Paris, Kentucky. Pennington is the author of Lessons in Likeness: the portrait painter in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1800-1920, and is currently compiling a catalog raisonné of the works of Matthew Harris Jouett.
Provenance: Property descended in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Trimble Jr., Lexington, Kentucky