Oil on paper mounted to board
Unframed: 73.3 x 59.7 cm (28 7/8 x 23 1/2 in.)
Delia E. Holden Fund 2012.30
Church "spoke" at his funeral via an Edison phonograph recording he made for the occasion.
Lifelong Chagrin Falls resident Church is considered one of the great self-taught artists of 19th-century America. A painter, sculptor, and musician by passion, he offered his appearance and enthusiasms in this highly imaginative self-portrait, surrounding himself with a squadron of miniature winged muses. These figures represent not only the traditional arts of painting, sculpture, and music, but also Church's profession of blacksmithing (identified as a crowned figure holding a hammer and anvil). A savvy entrepreneur, Church launched the first commercial art gallery in northeast Ohio: Church's Art Museum, at Geauga Lake, in 1888. Its inventory consisted entirely of his own work.
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