Portrait of Amelia G. Studley

Joseph Oriel Eaton (American, 1829-1875)

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In this portrait Eaton's brushstrokes appear loose, but the drawing of the sitter's facial features remains firm and solid.

Eaton spent only a short time in Indianapolis, during which he studied under Jacob Cox. He eventually settled in New York.

The artist developed a reputation as a skillful painter of women's portraits.


Joseph Oriel Eaton was born in Newark, Ohio. At the age of sixteen he traveled to Indianapolis and entered the studio of Jacob Cox. He moved to Cincinnati and then took a trip to Europe and finally settled in New York, where he set up his own studio. During his time in Cincinnati Eaton became a very popular portrait artist. In New York he developed a reputation as a skillful painter of women’s portraits. When William Merritt Chase arrived in New York, he was referred to Eaton for assistance in pursuit of his art career. Eaton was an associate member of the National Academy of design and a member of the Water Color Society and Artists’ Fund Society. Although he painted landscapes and a few neoclassical pieces, Eaton is best known for his portraits and his free brushwork and sensitive approach.

In the Portrait of Amelia Studley Eaton’s brushstroke appears loose, but the drawing of the sitter’s face remains firm and solid. He emphasizes the sitter’s facial features by placing her against a plain background frames her through the use of a curtain and the fabric on the back of her chair. To move the viewer around the canvases he repeats the red of the curtain in the woman’s dress and the cloth behind her. These techniques were used by many successful nineteenth century portrait painters.


Cincinnati Art Museum. Exhibition of Paintings by Joseph Oriel Eaton and Sculpture by Hiram Powers, Eden Park, Ohio, Cincinnati Art Museum, 1934.

Miss Violet G. Williams of Cincinnati 1934; Edward H. Dwight of Cincinnati; Indianapolis Museum of Art

Object Information

Joseph Oriel Eaton (American, 1829-1875)
creation date
oil on canvas
15-1/4 x 12-1/4 in. (canvas)
22-1/2 x 19-1/4 x 4 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Purchase Fund
Public Domain
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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