The Fowler Children


The Fowler Children, 1854

  • On View

Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 49 × 61 1/4 in. (124.5 × 155.6 cm)
Framed: 56 3/8 × 68 3/4 in. (143.2 × 174.6 cm)

Gift of the Estate of Mrs. Ernest C. Schnuck, 1976.1

This portrait depicts the Fowler children (from left to right) Delia (1838–1907), age sixteen, Milo (1839–1872), age fifteen, and Gertrude (1846–1907), age eight. John Nash Fowler (1812–1879), a wealthy ship owner and lumberman from Clayton, New York, commissioned this portrait of his three youngest children in 1854. Though we do not know the identity of the artist, family records state that he was from Philadelphia. It is also known that the artist lived with the Fowler family for three months while working on the portrait. The unnamed painter was paid $300 for his services, a considerable sum for the time, attesting that his skill was well appreciated.The portrait of the Fowler children was brought to Detroit when the family relocated in 1856 and was hung in their home at 500 Woodward Avenue. Upon Mr. Fowler’s death in 1879, Delia brought the painting to Flint where she had settled with her husband. For many years, the painting hung in the family home at 414 East Court Street. In 1976, Delia’s granddaughter Adelaide Schnuck donated the painting to the Flint Institute of Arts.

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