Portrait of a Woman by John James Audubon  

Artist: John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Charcoal and Pencil on a Black Painted Ground
5 3/8” x 4 3/8” paper size

This unsigned portrait found in Louisville, Kentucky where it was likely taken. The woman depicted bears some resemblance to Barbra Fontaine Cosby / Todd (2011.2.1) now among the Filson Society’s collection in Louisville. Audubon much like many of his contemporaries was occasionally commissioned to draw or paint multiple family members. Possibly our unknown subject could be a member of Ms, Cosby / Todd’s line. Another subject by Audubon in the Filson collection is G.W. Love . The young Mr. Love (2011.2.3) of Frankfort, KY. shares paper size, medium, and chair to our unknown subject. 

Several Audubon likenesses from this brief Louisville stay share a glimpse of what appears a common chair resting his sitters. Audubon portraits from this period are distinct as none of his contemporaries posed their subjects in profile drawing so precisely in this medium . To view either subject and others by the artist go to the Kentucky Online Arts Resource (KOAR) website. Accept the terms and search for “Audubon”  to view several similar Audubon portraits from this circa 1820 period or enter the catalog number to see either referenced individual portrait.

Condition: The paper in its original format would have been rectangular though later trimmed for an oval frame in the Victorian era. Two partial straight borders remain at the top and the proper right side of the image. There is frame rub at the bottom of image resulting in a cuff loss of the sitter’s costume. Otherwise unblemished in an excellent state of preservation with no restoration nor in-paint.