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William Allen

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William Matthew Prior, a self-taught New England artist, worked in two styles, one primitive and flat and the other more sophisticated—and more expensive for the client. In 1831 he advertised in the Maine Inquirer: “Persons wishing for a flat picture can have a likeness without shadow or...

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Reverse, before relining: W. Allen./By Wm. M. Prior/1843


1843, Samuel Parker Allen (born 1813), Cambridgeport, Mass.; by descent to his son, James Morse Allen (born 1848), Cambridge, Mass.; by descent to his daughter, Miss Greta Allen (born 1881), Dorchester, Mass.; 1946, consigned to Bessie Howard; 1946, sold by Bessie Howard to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; 1948, bequest of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948)

Credit Line

Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815-1865



81.91 x 101.92 cm (32 1/4 x 40 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas