(active c. 1830),
a provincial folk portrait painter with an unusually flat, decorative style, has thus far eluded biographical documentation. Ellis’s fifteen known or attributed works, nearlyall executed in oil on wood panel, were either found in or depict subjects from the Readfield-Waterville area of central Maine. At least two watercolors on paper,miniature portraits, are also thought to be by Ellis, and the two signed portraits of a gentleman and lady are in the collection of the New York State HistoricalAssociation. Ellis consistently depicts sitters with highly stylized faces, little or no shading or contour, and lively patterned costumes. The degree of stylization in Ellis’swork suggests that the artist may have painted furniture.
Furniture, Painted and Decorated; Miniatures; Painting, American Folk
D’Ambrosio, Paul S., and Charlotte Emans.
Folk Art’s Many Faces: Portraits in the New York State Historical Association.
Cooperstown, N.Y., 1987.McDonald, Sheila. “Who Was A.Ellis? And Why Did He or She Paint All Those Pictures?”
Maine Antique Digest,
vol. 11 (April 1981): 26-A, 27-A.