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John S. Blunt

(1798—1835)


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Washington Allston (1779—1843) painter and poet

Robert Salmon (c. 1775—1848)

Luminism

 

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(1798–1835).

Painter. Known particularly for landscapes and portraits, he also painted marines, ship portraits, and genre scenes. Like most self-taught artists of his day, he supplemented his income with artisanal services, including furniture and carriage decoration, sign painting, and gilding. Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he worked there until moving to Boston in 1831. He died at sea, on a voyage from New Orleans to Boston. His reputation rests chiefly on sophisticated, original landscapes and exquisitely refined portraits based on conventional models. As he developed his skill in depicting views, Blunt interpreted European traditions with a poetic sensibility perhaps inspired by precedents in the work of Washington Allston and, later, Robert Salmon. Blunt's winter view of Boston Harbor (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1835) suggests emergent luminism in its combination of carefully observed detail and atmosphere, perspectivized space, and a softly radiant light. In portraits of beautifully dressed women, expressive, three-dimensionally realized faces dominate flattened, decoratively stylized clothing and accessories to striking effect. At an early stage of research into Blunt's career, many of these were grouped as work of the Borden Limner.

Subjects: Art.


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