Paradise in the Parlor: At Home with the Fowler Family | SHEPPY DOG FUND LECTURE

Event Type Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture , Free Programs , Late Nights , Lectures
Date calendar  Thursday, June 20, 2024
Time clock  6:00pm - 7:00pm (1h)
Location FIA Theater


Paradise in the Parlor: At Home with the Fowler Family

June 20 | 6p | FIA Theater | FREE Admission

Dr. Janine Yorimoto Boldt, Guest Lecturer

The group portrait of Delia, Milo, and Gertrude Fowler, the three youngest children of John Nash Fowler, has long been a popular painting at the Flint Institute of Arts. According to family tradition, the painting was created around 1854 in Clayton, New York, before the family relocated to Detroit, Michigan. The three children sit in a garden setting with an imaginary Edenic landscape behind them. Some of the portrait’s iconography suggests that it is a post-mortem portrait of the youngest child pictured, with the landscape referencing heaven. However, there is no archival record of a death in the family around the time the portrait was painted. This presentation will discuss the history of the portrait and the Fowler family and consider the painting in the context of their evangelical, Methodist faith. The portrait expressed moralizing lessons and values and can be understood in relation to domestic religious practices in mid-nineteenth-century America.


Janine Yorimoto Boldt is the Collection Reinstallation Project Associate at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where she is involved in planning the comprehensive reinstallation of the permanent collection galleries. Previously, she was the Associate Curator of American Art at the Chazen and a Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society. She holds a PhD in American Studies from William & Mary and specializes in early American visual culture. Recent curatorial projects include re:mancipation, Resource & Ruin: Wisconsin’s Enduring Landscape, and Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist. Her scholarship on colonial art and portraiture has been published by Winterthur Portfolio, American Art, Panorama, and the DAR Museum. She is the researcher behind Colonial Virginia Portraits, a digital project produced in collaboration with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture.

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