American Miniature Painting


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Miniature Painting." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

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(above, Thomas Seir Cummings, A Mother's Pearls, 1841, Watercolor on ivory. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gift of Mrs. Richard B. Hartshorne and Miss Fanny S. Cummings, 1928)


Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:

Keepsakes of the Beloved: Portrait Miniatures and Profiles 1790 to 1840; with essay by Elizabeth Johns (2/4/11)

The American Revival Period in Miniature Painting / Thoughts on the Future of Miniature Art; essays by Wes Siegrist (4/8/09)

From Hand to Heart: The Art of the American Miniature Portrait; essay by Peter J. Baldaia (3/22/04)

Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures (2/26/01)

Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures (2/26/01)

Miniature Portraits: Leila Waring (10/11/99)

Fine and Folk Traditions in American Miniature Painting (3/4/99)


Also see Figurative and Portrait Art: 18-19th Century, 19-20th Century, 20-21st Century


(above, John Wood Dodge (1807-1893),  Kate Roselie Dodge,1854, Watercolor on ivory,  3 x 2 1/2 in. (7.6 x 6.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1988)


From other websites:

Amalia Küssner Coudert from Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

American Portrait Miniatures of the Eighteenth Century by Carrie Rebora Barratt Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015.

American Portrait Miniatures of the Nineteenth Century by Carrie Rebora Barratt Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015.

Chicago Society of Miniature Painters from Wikipedia, which says: "The society held annual exhibits starting in 1912 and continued to at least 1944." Accessed 12/18

Gibbes Museum of Art presents an ineractive presentation regarding portrait miniatures in "H. F. Plowden Weston, by Charles Fraser." Accessed August, 2015.

Intimate Keepsakes: American Portrait Miniatures, A Gift From Charles A. Gilday is a 2018 exhibit at the Currier Museum of Art which says: "In 2017, Charles Gilday, a noted collector and independent scholar, gave the Currier more than 25 American portrait miniatures dating from the 1770s to the 1930s. This important gift introduces this unique art form into the Currier's strong American holdings. These delicate portraits - some measuring little more than an inch in length - are rendered in watercolor on thin slices of translucent ivory. " Online 40-page exhibit catalog included. Accessed 5/18

In October 2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art launched MetPublications, an online resource that offers in-depth access to the Museum's print and online publications, covering art, art history, archaeology, conservation, and collecting. Titles relating to American representational art available for free viewing via pdf download or online reading as of 2013 include: American Portrait Miniatures in the Manney Collection; Johnson, Dale T. (1990). Accessed August, 2015.

Minerva Chapman: Miniature Portraits, an exhibit held November 4, 2006 through January 14, 2007 at the Frick Art & Historical Center. Includes news release. From Frick Art & Historical Center. Accessed August, 2015.

Don Shelton blog. Mr. Shelton wrote to TFAO: "I collect miniature portraits, especially American ones.  The overall collection is titled 'Artists and Ancestors.' There are over 300 American miniature portraits in the American section of the collection and they are illustrated and "published" on my website which has a home page at together with comprehensive research notes. I believe it to be one of the larger private collections of American miniatures in existence." Accessed August, 2015.

Small Scales: Lands of Enchantment is a 2016-17 exhibit at the Bruce Museum, which says: "While the creation of miniature scenes itself is not a new concept, contemporary artists use small works to encourage closer looking, drawing the viewer in so he or she becomes aware of a deeper message only after first being lured by the finesse and beauty of the piece. In this exhibition, works are made from old books and repurposed suitcases, found objects and handcrafted items, glass and a living tree. The subject matter ranges just as widely from highly researched environmental and political issues to fanciful imaginary worlds and nostalgic memories of the family homestead." Accessed 10/16


(above, Henry Inman (American, Utica, New York 1801-1846 New York) and Thomas Seir Cummings (American (born England), Bath 1804-1894 Hackensack, New Jersey), Portrait of a Lady, ca. 1827, Watercolor on ivory, 3 x 2 in. (7.6 x 5.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Purchase, William Cullen Bryant Fellows Gifts, 2003)


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