American Schoolgirl Art


Between 1790 and 1830 in America, girls painted in watercolor on wooden objects and small pieces of furniture. My dear friend and gifted artisan, Betsy Krieg Salm, is one of the only people in the world who practices and teaches this early American art. Betsy published a beautiful book with University Press of New England earlier this year that is a Christmas keepsake.  More than 400 full color images adorn the pages of this compelling story regarding the first formal education organized for women in the United States. The Female Accomplishments included Decorum, Music, Drawing, Needlework, Theorem Painting and other period arts along with mathematics and other subjects considered the domain of men alone. Betsy’s book tells the story of how this work was done and shows both antiques and the materials and methods for doing the art itself. In full disclosure I helped Betsy find a suitable publisher and edit the manuscript (more than two years ago). But it still boggles my mind to see the fine watercolor paintings young girls were able to accomplish on wooden objects still in existence today. For those who love antiques, you’ll want this book because most of this work remains undiscovered since the genre has never previously been identified and catalogued so exhaustively. New pieces are found frequently and bring top dollar at auction houses. The story she tells is so interesting my dad picked it up and read it; cover to cover. He called me up to tell me how much he enjoyed reading it. He didn’t have to do that; his endorsement speaks volumes. I’m happy to report Betsy spends more time now back in her studio painting. American Schoolgirl Art. Check it out.

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