ARCHIVE OF AMERICAN COUNTRY PAINTING
by Baker, Ann
Ann Baker (1942-2006), specialist in country painting, as awarded by the Historical Society of Early American Decorating, was a renowned artist and teacher of American country painting. She was noted by American Life Magazine as one of the 100 Master Crafts Persons in the country. Her works are represented in several museums, and one of her pieces was displayed in the White House. As a teacher, Baker maintained an extensive collection of historical designs, patterns, stencils, photographs and other teaching aids designed to preserve the authentic designs and historical traditions of country painting.
This unique collection consists of over 700 items relating to her work as a country painter, toleware artist, gold-leaf painter and teacher, and exhibits a variety of techniques. The designs are on glazed cardboard, acetate and architect's linen and range in size from very small to large elaborate, multicolored works (20 x 26 inches). The colors from the paint and real gold leaf are stunning. While most designs are for tea caddies, various trays, boxes and multiuse borders, there are a few original Baker artworks, including three on felt. An approximate breakdown of the material is: 75 extra large paintings, 145 large paintings (8-1/2" x 11"), 50 medium sized paintings (5" x 7"), 25 small paintings, four watercolors, 200 pencil sketches, 100 stencils and many photographs of source material.
Ann Baker was devoted to preserving historical technique so important to early American life. This archive illustrates the original designs and colors, identifies the sources of many designs and provides teaching methods for a new generation of artists. As a result, the collection has historical value as well as ongoing teaching value. These paintings and related materials must be seen to fully appreciate the vibrant colors, intricate designs and overall beauty. This archive would be a wonderful addition to any early American museum or collection.