Baltimore, Through A Glass Darkly

The proper Baltimore gentry of the mid-nineteenth century who paid Hans Heinrich Bebie to paint their portraits posed for the staid, rather dour man (or so he seemed) whose own self-portrait appears to the left. The neat and competent if uninspired likenesses that rewarded their patronage gave them little indication that Bebie was anything more than a stolid professional. Many cities had their Bebies until the age of photography. Read more »

Pennsylvania Sunday Best

Itinerant primitive painters dressed up the farmers and the burghers as they hoped posterity would remember them

Well over a century has passed since a small group of itinerant artists wandered through the German settlements of southeastern Pennsylvania, making a precarious living and incidentally founding a fascinating provincial school of American portraiture. Talent brushed some of them lightly, and sometimes inspiration, even if most of the time their minds were largely occupied with the prospects for their next meal.