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Taufschein for Johannes Dottere
Northhampton County (or Bird-in-the-Hand) Artist

Location: Probably Chestnut Hill Township, Pennsylvania, United States

Date: c. 1831

Materials: Watercolor and ink on paper

Dimensions: 15 1/16 × 12"

Credit: Gift of Ralph Esmerian

Accession Number: 2013.1.32

Photo credit: Photographer unidentified

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Description

The term Fraktur comprises a number of embellished calligraphic forms produced within Germanic communities in America. Because they were commissioned or received from active members of their own community, fraktur is rarely signed. This Taufschein, or birth certificate, is distinctive for the fresh clear colors and graphic cartoon–like imagery that illustrates the maxim “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”—or, as translated here, “in the woods.” The so-called Bird-in-the-Hand Artist is also known as the Northampton County Artist because the texts refer to families in that Pennsylvania region.

Stacy C. Hollander, "Taufschein for Johannes Dottere," exhibition label for Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined. Stacy C. Hollander, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2012.


Taufschein for Johannes Dottere
Date: c. 1831
Artist:
Dimensions: 15 1/16 × 12"
Materials: Watercolor and ink on paper
Credit Line: Gift of Ralph Esmerian
Place/Region: United States, Probably Chestnut Hill Township
Description: From Northhampton County. Portrays a seated man holding a bird and facing a woman slightly smaller seated in a similar chair. A flower vine grows next to man. Two pinwheel motifs above the figures serve to underline motto. A yellow border with black dashes frames the piece and a green line separates the figures from the script below.
Accession Number: 2013.1.32
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