John Brewster Jr.
JOHN BREWSTER, JR. (1766-1854)
is considered to be one of the preeminent folk portraitists in early American art. Born deaf into a prominent Connecticut family, he was a direct descendent of William Brewster, the Pilgrim leader of the Mayflower voyage. Brewster studied art with the Reverend Joseph Steward and commonly painted family members and friends in the early 1790s. His career was launched in the late 1790s when he went to live with his brother Royal in Buxton, Maine. From there he traveled the Maine coast and made long visits to Connecticut and Massachusetts, engaged as a portrait painter by the merchant elite in the seacoast towns of Kennebunkport, Newburyport and Mystic. In 1817 he enrolled as a member of the first class of the American School for the Deaf in Hartford at the age of 51. After three years at the school he resumed his art career and painted prolifically until the early 1830s.