William Matthew Prior worked as an itinerant painter before setttling in Boston, where he established a studio with his brother-in-law, Sturtevant Hamblen, and painted from 1841 until his death in 1873. During the mid-19th century, he became a highly sought after artist because of his realistic yet inexpensive portraits. This portrait of a girl is inscribed on the back with the price $1.25. Prior is known for his distinctive “flat” portraits, particularly those of children depicted with flat expanses of vibrant color, such as the pink dress here, and limited detail in the arms and hands. The curtain and tassel backdrop is a popular feature in Prior portraits.
Credit Line: Text courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (CC BY 3.0).