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Summer Fine Art and Antique Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 9, 2022 09:00AM EDT
Lot 494

William Cooper TN Portrait of a Little Boy

Estimate: $500 - $600

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
William Cooper (Tennessee 1811-1900) oil on canvas portrait of a little boy in brown suit, plain background. Circa 1855. Unsigned. Sight: 30" H x 25" W. Framed: 32 1/2" H x 27 1/2" W. Biography: William Browning Cooper was born near Carthage, TN. in 1811. The younger brother of Washington Cooper, both artists were raised in circumstances William named "unfavorable for artistic culture" having "no schools of art" and "nothing to stimulate us in our chosen pursuits". From a young age, the brothers used charcoal from the fireplace to sketch barn doors and fences. Washington's early success in portraiture helped fund William's formal training. He graduated with honors from the National Academy of Design in New York in 1832, and traveled to Europe in 1838 where he developed an affinity for coloration, sharp contour, and indiscernible lines that characterized his works until the 1860s. He returned to Tennessee in 1840, working predominately between Memphis and Nashville until moving to Kentucky at the start of the war. By the end of his life, he had painted throughout the Southeast and sporadically along the East Coast until his death in Chattanooga in 1900. (Adapted from Tennessee Historical Quarterly Winter, 1987: Portrait Painting in Tennessee, by James C. Kelly)

Private Middle Tennessee collection.


Lined with fiberglass, with overpainted restoration including an approximately 7" square tear to center, affecting subject's mouth, chin, neck, and chest, and background. Inpaint restoration to lower right corner. Craquelure throughout. Work was once housed in an oval frame.