A Sculptor's Studio

Tompkins H. Matteson (1813-1884)
Date: 1857
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 29 H x 37 1/2 W
Inscription: Signed and dated lower left: T. H. Matteson/1857
Credit: Gift of Walter Launt Palmer in memory of his mother, Mary Jane Seamans Palmer
Accession Number: 1907.51
Comments: The studio interior is a comparatively rare genre, having gained relative popularity in America during the mid-nineteenth century. No example is more pertinent to the history of art in Albany than A Sculptor's Studio, which presents an uncommon scene in the studio of a contemporary sculptor, rather than a painter. Tompkins H. Matteson became well known at mid-century for genre and historical subjects. A Sculptor's Studio documents a relationship between painter Matteson and sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer, whose studio had become a center for Albany artists by the late 1840s. Palmer stands in the foreground of his studio, modeling a bust, while an assistant sits nearby. In the background is Palmer's stonecutting workshop. All the works shown in the painting are known pieces by Palmer, and the painting represents a tribute to the most renowned sculptor working in America at the time.