Pair of Folk Art Dressed Pictures, Continental, c. 1780

Pair of folk art dressed pictures, each made from scraps of fabric, the faces, hands and 'cloisons' of painted paper.

Images: 11.5" x 15.5"
Frames, max dimensions: 15" x 19"

Probably Germany c. 1780

PRICE: $1,800 pr. 

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These charming pictures were intended to hang side by side, as indicated by the stage-like curtains in the corner windows. The left-hand picture shows a seated woman, infirm and heavily bundled in clothing with her feet on a pillow. Her expression and that of the standing figures, is quite serious. Fortunately, the doctor has just arrived. Having removed his tricorn hat, he bows courteously.

In the right-hand picture, we see the fully cured patient, sitting forward smiling and holding a glass of wine, her heavy bonnet removed, arms and neck uncovered. Her footrest is gone and a lively bird on her chairback further animates the scene. The gentleman in red, probably her husband, happily caresses her hand, while the woman, perhaps a servant, offers food.

Almost certainly copied from popular engravings, it's been suggested these delightful folk art works are German. Little is written about 'dressed pictures', as they're often called, so it's difficult to say with certainty. The red and white tile floor could be Dutch while the rococo furniture could be French. Hopefully the closeup photos will help identify the fabric, which even then is not definitive as textiles were shipped across borders throughout Europe. Note especially the windows. The warp appears to be cotton thread, but the weft looks like thin metallic strips. Even the glass decanter in the husband's right hand is made from this material, the lower portion of which is painted red to suggest its contents.

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