• Current
  • Upcoming
  • Past
  • Catalogs
  • Open Door
  • American Folk Art, Lovingly Collected

    Portrait of the Farley Children of Groton

    July 15 - November 29, 2015
    PDP Gallery and American Decorative Arts Gallery

    Above: Portrait of the Farley Children of Groton, Zedekiah Belknap (American, 1781–1858), about 1835, oil on canvas

    Explore the rich folk art tradition that flourished in the mid-19th-century in more than 40 works from an important private collection based in central Massachusetts, recognized as one of the best of its kind in existence. The exhibition features an array of paintings and furniture, many on display for the first time, with a particular emphasis on portraits of children, which illustrate the folk artists' unique approach to using color and towards the figurative treatment of their subjects.

    Examined in the light of the growing economic development in New England during the 1800s, American Folk Art, Lovingly Collected showcases the work of home-grown artists, who traveled from town to town to paint portraits for rural families of their loved ones. The artists represented in the exhibition showcase a distinctive folk-art practice that grew out of a popular demand for personal keepsakes, and include John Brewster, Zedekiah Belknap, Ruth Henshaw Bascom, William Matthew Prior, and Sturtevant Hamblin, among others.

    Sponsored in part by:

    Media sponsor:

    Select Images

    Video: A Deaf Artist in Early America: The World of John Brewster, Jr.

    John Brewster, Jr. Portrait of Mary Coffin: John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854) was a prolific, deaf itinerant painter, who produced many portraits of New England families, especially their children. Learn more about this fascinating portrait and its artist.

    Speaker: Paul D'Ambrosio, President and CEO at Fenimore Art Museum & The Farmers' Museum

    Filmed by WGBH Forum Network at the Thursday, February 19, 2015 Master Series event.

    Master Series Worcester Art Museum

    Exhibition Catalog


    To purchase an exhibition catalog, please call the Museum Shop at 508.793.4355.


    "American Folk Art, Lovingly Collected" - NECN Video
    Family in folk art at Worcester Art Museum - The Boston Globe

    Press Release

    "American Folk Art, Lovingly Collected" Showcases Massachusetts-Based Private Collection - March 19, 2015