Saturday

Ramsier, John - portrait of Mr A G Clark


This miniature portrait is signed "J Ramsier" for John Ramsier (1861-1936), a Kentucky artist noted for his photographic style. Miniaturist John Ramsier worked in Louisville in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The Swiss immigrant came to America in 1883, working for several photographic studios in New Albany, Indiana, and Louisville.

Ramsier established his own studio in 1893, but a fire put an end to the business. Ramsier, who had trained as a photographer and worked as a tinter of photographs, decided to specialize in miniatures. His clientele was international.

He was especially renowned for copying older works into the miniature format. One of the more famous examples of such work is "Mrs. Henrietta Hunt Morgan and John Hunt Morgan," which is owned by the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation in Lexington, Kentucky.

According to the Jones and Weber exhibition catalog, "The Kentucky Painter from the Frontier Era to the Great War," it is estimated that Ramsier executed over 3,000 "likenesses" in his 33-year career. Ramsier's papers reside at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky.

The sitter is Mr A G Clark (or A J Clark) of Louisville and the miniature was previously owned by Mrs W S Fulton, daughter of Mrs Clark. A J Clark is believed to possibly been employed as a superintendent of the Piedmont Coal Company in 1878 and later a director of the Warwick China Company of Wheeling, WV. For more about the family see the adjacent miniature of Nancy McElhenny, also by Ramsier . 1095a

1 comment:

Tim Bowers said...

Mr. Shelton, Hello. I recently came across a Ramsier miniature. There were some visable brush strokes in the background but the face was very tightly rendered without brushstrokes. I couldn't tell if it was a photo that had been painted on or a completely painted image. After reading your bio of John Ramsier and considering his background as a photo tinter, is it possible that Ramsier may have "tinted" photo images to appear as paintings? I have read that painting over photos as a "miniature" was practiced in the past. I am not sure if the painting that I found is on paper, ivory or something else. I would be interested in your thoughts on this issue. Thank you, Tim