Mrs. Sims of Philadelphia


Adolf Ulric Wertmüller ( American, 1751 - 1811 )

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General Description

The portrait of Mrs. Sims is a marvelous example of 18th-century portraiture as practiced in Europe and imported into America by ambitious itinerant painters. The detail of the sitter's highly finished coiffure, Empire-waist gown, and embroidered cloak attests to the artist's skill, as do the bold scarlet accents playing against the cool, neutral background.

Sweden's most successful 18th-century painter, Adolf Ulric Wertmüller trained at the Royal Academy in Stockholm but made his career in France. The changing political climate of the 1790s forced the expatriate painter abroad to Spain and finally to Philadelphia in 1794. Once settled in the cultural capital of the United States, Wertmüller painted George Washington, as well as other notable Philadelphia sitters.

Excerpt from

William Keyse Rudolph, DMA label text, 2006

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