Folk Art Portrait of Maladroit 18th Century Teenager Breaks Record at Skinner

An American folk art portrait broke a record for the category at the Boston-based Skinner auction house last weekend. The $1.27 million painting, executed in 1786 by an unknown artist in exchange for room and board, portrays 14-year-old Abigail Rose from Connecticut. Abby’s dress and surroundings reveal some of what life may have been like for a wealthy girl in the post-revolutionary United States — but the expression on her face mostly proves that adolescent awkwardness is timeless.

The painting has been passed down from descendant to descendant of the Rose family since the 18th century, but when the last owner’s wife passed away, his children decided someone else could better take care of the painting and consigned it to Skinner. The high bidder was Boston dealer Stephen Score, who bought the work on behalf of an unknown client. [Boston Business Journal]

— Shane Ferro