A nice miniature painting done, in watercolor on natural material, by Ebenezer Mack. The sitter is dressed in a black jacket, and a white vest, shirt, and stock. Housed in its original gold case.
Although all of Mack's works are quite naïvely rendered, this example is even more primitive than most, indicating that it was done quite early in his career, probably in the 1785 time frame. His works are very rare, and he did not sign his paintings. His works have a similarity in some cases to those of William Verstille. However, there are certain characteristics that point clearly to this miniature being his, namely the attention and clear limning of the clothing (which contrasts with the lack of the same in the face), and the dark line between the lips. Condition is quite good, with no chips, cracks, bowing, or restoration. The size is 1 3/8" by 1 1/8".
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Details of Mack's life are somewhat lacking, though it is generally agreed that he was professionally active between 1785 to 1808, and was probably born and died in New York City. In 1780 he is known to have been using the studio of the deceased John Smibert in Boston, the same year and location that Joseph Dunkerley was there. Mack was executing miniatures in Philadelphia in 1785 and 1788, and was recorded in NYC directories at various times in the 1791 to 1808 period.
Examples of Mack's miniatures are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Art Museum, and the New York Historical Society.