In 1924, a group of portraits of women, shown leaning forward in three-quarter view and wearing dark dresses, were displayed in an antique show in Kent, Connecticut. The anonymous painter of these strongly colored works, which dated from the 1830s, became known as the "Kent Limner," after the locality where they had come to light.
Stylistically distinct from those of the "Kent Limner," a second group of early-19th-century paintings emerged after 1940 in the area near the Connecticut–New York border. Attributed at the time to an unknown "Border Limner," these works, dating from the period 1812–1818, were characterized by soft pastel hues, as seen in the portrait of Harriet Leavens, now in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.
It was not until 1968 that Ammi Phillips's identity as the painter of both groups of portraits was established. Additional works were identified, showing the artist's transition from the delicate coloration of the Border period to the bold and somber works that followed. Some paintings that had previously been attributed to John Bradley were also identified as the work of Ammi Phillips. By 1976, there were approximately 400 paintings securely attributed to Phillips, who is now recognized as one of the most prolific American folk painters of his time.
His work was featured on a United States postage stamp in 1998.
- Black, Mary C.; Stuart H. Feld (October 1966). "'Drawn by I. Bradley from Great Britton'". Antiques 90: 501–509.
- Black, Mary, "The Search for Ammi Phillips," ARTnews, April 1976: 86–89.
- Hollander, Stacy C. American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum. New York: American Folk Art Museum in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001.
- Hollander, Stacy C. The Seduction of Light: Ammi Phillips | Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2008.
- Hollander, Stacy C., and Brooke Davis Anderson. American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum. New York: American Folk Art Museum in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001.
- Hollander, Stacy C., and Howard P. Fertig. Revisiting Ammi Phillips: Fifty Years of American Portraiture. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 1994.
- History of Art: Ammi Phillips - all-art.org
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ammi Phillips.|
- “The Seduction of Light: Ammi Phillips | Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red” at the American Folk Art Museum (2008–2009)