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American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: John Brewster, Jr., American, 1766–1854
Subject: Comfort Starr Mygatt, American, 1763–1823
Subject: Lucy Mygatt, American, 1794–1885

Comfort Starr Mygatt (1763–1823) and Lucy Mygatt (1794–1885)


Oil on canvas

54 × 39 1/2 in. (137.2 × 100.3 cm)
Gift of Jane and Gerald Katcher, LL.B. 1950
The portraits by the itinerant deaf artist John Brewster open a window into the lives of New England’s merchant class. Here, the prosperous Danbury, Connecticut, shopkeeper, silversmith, and watchmaker Comfort Starr Mygatt poses with his five-year-old daughter, Lucy. The heart of the painting lies in their barely touching fingers. Stripping the scene of inessential detail, Brewster focuses attention on the unspoken bond between the relaxed father and the solemn little girl raising her hand to touch him. The emotion inherent in the gesture transcends the specifics of time and place.
Made in Danbury, Connecticut
On view
18th century

Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 31, 348, pl. 1.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2007–June 30, 2008,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2008): 180, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.