William Sidney Mount, "Catching Rabbits," 1839
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Costigan Gallery, Art Museum

William Sidney Mount’s body of work featured a wide array of children in paintings ranging from delicately executed portraits to scenes of rural youngsters on the verge of big mischief.  Many of Mount’s most memorable genre paintings focused on the activities of boys and girls in pre-Civil War agrarian settings that appealed to his patrons seeking connection to an earlier, supposedly more innocent time.  From the 1830s to the 1860s, the artist also continued a brisk business in portrait painting for parents who wanted to preserve memories of their little ones, or who were mourning a youngster’s loss in the midst of high childhood mortality.  Young Island explores Mount’s examples of naughty little boys and angelic, cherub-cheeked young girls, imagery that consumed American art of the 19th and early 20th centuries.