Who was Folk Painter Ammi Phillips?

Ammi Phillips Artist Signature

One of America’s most notable 19th Century naive portraitists, Ammi Phillips spent a lifetime painting as many as two thousand portraits, five hundred of which can be officially attributed to his hand. His styles and painting directions varied throughout his impressive career, from light, pastel images to deepened color with exquisite costume detailing to his later works which were clearly influenced by the recent invention of the daguerreotype.

Canvas Gallery Wraps of Mr. Day & Mrs. Day, c. 1835, Hudson River Valley, New York

Some of our customer favorites by Ammi Phillips are those of the couples he painted. They look quite distinguished mounted in the same frame and hung side by side.

Framed Canvas Prints of Mr. Joseph Slade & Mrs. Alsa Slade, age 49, painted in 1816

Ammi, which appropriately means “my people,” painted up and down the east coast of the United States. At one point in 1965, it was realized by Barbara and Larry Holdridge, along with the help of art historian Mary C. Black, that a series of paintings previously believed to be completed by an unknown artist, then given the nicknames of “Kent Limner” and “Border Limner,” were indeed paintings by Phillips from various points of his career.

The paintings previously given the artist psuedonym of Kent Limner, are now considered works from his Kent period, and for the area of Kent, Connecticut, where the paintings resurfaced at a 1924 summer antique fair.

Framed Paper Print of Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog, 1830-1835

Some of our all-time favorite Ammi Phillips portrayals originated during Phillips’ Kent period, and those are paintings of children in fine clothing with their pets. We offer prints of Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog which is the most iconic work from our entire Folk Art collection and his most famous work from his career.

Here are a few more portraits of children by Ammi Phillips that we totally love:

Framed Print of Girl with Cat, c. 1814

Poster Print of Three Children of Henry Jolsen Carter, 1860

Poster Print of Portrait of a Winsome Young Girl in Red with Green Slippers, Dog and Bird, c. 1840

Like so many artists before and after him, the first ever major exhibition of Ammi Phillips’ work was not until 1968, over a century after his death in 1865. The show took place at The Museum of American Folk Art, with numerous displays of his work since then. Currently, his original paintings sell on the art market for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Don’t have an extra three hundred grand lying around? No worries! You can shop the complete Ammi Phillips print collection right here at Encore and find a much more affordable copy to enjoy for a lifetime.

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