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Susan Waters

Image of oil on canvas painting by Susan Waters.

The Lincoln Children, by Susan Catherine Moore Waters (1845) Oil on canvas Image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection

Susan Waters (1823-1900) of Bordentown traveled to small communities in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York to utilize her talents as an itinerant portrait painter.

Waters was well known for her animal paintings and primitive style. Most of her portraits included subjects with stylized postures and faces even though the settings of her paintings were often detailed.

Waters painted at least 28 portraits between 1843 and 1845. Despite these years of productivity, the demand for painted portraits decreased in the 1840s and 50s with the advent of photography in America. In addition to being a talented painter, Waters was also selected as the recording secretary of the New Jersey Women Suffrage Association in 1871.

Questions to Explore

What was Water’s painting style?

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Additional Resources

Heslip Colleen C. 1978. “Susan C. Waters Itinerant Painter.” Dissertation publisher not identified. https://worldcat.org/title/887002885.

Burstyn Joan N. 1990. “Susan Catherine Moore Waters.” Past and Promise Lives of New Jersey Women. https://worldcat.org/title/54470359.

Waters Susan C Colleen Cowles Heslip Bedford Gallery (Longwood Fine Arts Center) Arnot Art Museum and Longwood Fine Arts Center Farmville Va. 1979. Mrs. Susan C. Waters 19th-Century Itinerant Painter : [Exhibition] October 19-November 19 1979 Bedford Gallery Longwood Fine Arts Center Longwood College Farmville Virginia January 5-31 1980 Arnot Art Museum Elmira New York. Farmville Va. (Longwood College Farmville Va. 23901): Center. https://www.worldcat.org/title/1038383494