Early American Painting

Ammi Phillips (1788–1865)
Girl in a Red Dress, c. 1835
Oil on canvas, 32 3/8 x 27 3/8 in. (82.2 x 69.5 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.57

Object - Ammi Phillips, Girl in a Red Dress

A primarily self-taught artist, Ammi Phillips was one of many itinerant painters who created portraits for members of America’s growing provincial middle classes in the early and mid-nineteenth century. Likely painted in Connecticut or New York, Girl in a Red Dress is one of five portraits of children wearing the same distinctive frock. Phillips captured the unidentified young sitter in a formal pose, holding a strawberry-plant sprig in one hand and a single ripe berry in the other. Following the tendencies of high style portraiture, early nineteenth-century American portraits also frequently included symbolic objects: here the recumbent dog represents fidelity of character, and strawberries symbolize youthful vitality. In an era when both young boys and girls wore dresses, the coral necklace identifies the wearer as female. Portraits of children such as this one were especially popular at the time as statements of families’ prosperity, social status, and future aspiration.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.


Ammi Phillips (1788–1865)
Girl in a Red Dress, c. 1835
Oil on canvas, 32 3/8 x 27 3/8 in. (82.2 x 69.5 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.57

Early American Painting

John Lewis Krimmel (1786–1821)
Blind Man's Buff, 1814
Oil on canvas, 16 5/8 x 22 1/16 in. (42.2 x 56.0 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.82
John Singleton Copley (1738–1815)
Portrait of Mrs. John Stevens (Judith Sargent, later Mrs. John Murray), 1770–72
Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 in. (127.0 x 101.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2000.6
Rembrandt Peale (1778–1860)
George Washington, Porthole Portrait, after 1824
Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 29 3/16 in. (92.1 x 74.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.53
Edward Hicks (1780–1849)
A Peaceable Kingdom with Quakers Bearing Banners, c. 1829–1830
Oil on canvas, 17 5/8 x 23 5/8 in. (44.8 x 60.0 cm) . Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1993.7
Ammi Phillips (1788–1865)
Girl in a Red Dress, c. 1835
Oil on canvas, 32 3/8 x 27 3/8 in. (82.2 x 69.5 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.57
Erastus Salisbury Field (1805–1900)
Portrait of a Woman said to be Clarissa Gallond Cook, in front of a Cityscape, c. 1838
Oil on canvas, 34 3/4 x 28 3/8 in. (88.3 x 72.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2000.4
Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872)
Gallery of the Louvre, 1831–33
Oil on canvas, 73 3/4 x 108 in. (187.3 x 274.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.51
Washington Allston (1779–1843)
Lorenzo and Jessica, 1832
Oil on artist's board, 15 x 18 in. (38.1 x 45.7 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2000.3
Jonathan Adams Bartlett (1817–1902)
Portrait of Harriet, c. 1840
Oil on canvas, 28 1/4 x 23 13/16 in. (71.8 x 60.5 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.14
Thomas Sully (1783–1872)
Portrait of Blanch Sully, 1839
Oil on paperboard, 24 x 20 in. (61.0 x 50.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2000.2