American Miniature Portrait by John Hagen
American portrait miniatures have been "the" sought after art form of the last years. A bit scarcer than their Continental counterparts, fine quality American portrait miniature paintings, not to mention those of known or listed artists, make the heart beat a tad faster. This quintessential signed portrait of a young woman in the prime of her life is truly irresistible.
John C. Hagen is the artist and while little is known about him, we do know his last breaths were taken in the year 1882. Known as a portrait and genre painter, this one is signed in pen and ink on a backing card "John Hagen" and the partial words, "Portrait Pain(ter)".
His subject is painted with a scope that breathes a vibrant spirit into an individual from an age long past. Rendered on ivory in watercolor and gouache, he was a skilled and capable of what over the centuries many artists are not, capturing both the likeness and the life force. Taking a step out of her small oval framed world and into the room seems to be not out of the question. Embraced by a rolled rose gold locket case, the borders are chased and the front and reverse covers have detailed engine turned metal work.
Case: measures 2-7/8 inches (7.3 cm) long by 1-3/4 inch (4.4 cm) wide. Ivory: measures 1-13/16 inches (4.5 cm) long by 1-3/8 inches (3.5 cm) wide. Miniature is in excellent condition with vibrant colors; one minute loss of paint at the lower right of her dress. Case is in fair to good condition with heavy oxidation on the rims and top "O" fitting; some slight bends to the case covers. Circa 1860.
Provenance: The Three Graces private collection since 2000.