The Shop and Warehouse of Duncan Phyfe, 168–172 Fulton Street, New York City

Former Attribution: Formerly attributed to John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York)

Date: ca. 1816

Medium: Watercolor, black ink, and gouache on white laid paper

Dimensions: 15 7/8 x 19 5/8 in. (40.3 x 49.8 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1922

Accession Number: 22.28.1

Description

For many years this watercolor had been attributed to the New York portrait and landscape watercolorist John Rubens Smith. More recent scholarship suggests that the artist was an amateur--perhaps even an employee of Phyfe’s shop--familiar with engraved images of manufactories and shops of the kind printed on business cards and furniture labels and in newspaper advertisements. The picture corresponds almost precisely to such imagery, for example, in the way the buildings completely fill the picture space and in the contrived presentation of the shop’s wares in the central doorway.

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