Conference Proceeding: Portrait of Two Painters: The Work of Theodore Sidney Moïse and Solomon Nunes Carvalho

Contenders for the title of first American-born Jewish artist, both Theodore Sidney Moïse (1808–1885) and Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815–1897) were born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina - then the cultural center of American Jewry - into families with Sephardic ancestry and strong ties to the West Indies. Each attained renown in his area of expertise: Moïse as a portrait painter, Carvalho as a daguerreotypist. Largely self-taught and based in New Orleans, Moïse cultivated a clientele among the rich and powerful. Carvalho made his reputation by photographing, sketching, and painting the western landscape and its inhabitants, whom he encountered on John C. Frémont’s fifth expedition across the Rockies. Their diverging political and religious trajectories demonstrate the unaccustomed degree of freedom available to Jews in antebellum America.

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