William E. Winner, American, 1819 - 1883
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William Winner painted portraits and landscapes, as well as genre, religious, and historical pictures, while establishing himself as an exhibitor at the major art institutions of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. Domestic Felicity evokes the quiet joys of nineteenth-century life in a rural, evening landscape. The picture is rich in color and is executed in soft brushstrokes, suggesting harmony and comfort. The imagery evokes the illustrations in the popular gift books of this period, which were typically paired with inspiring poetry or sentimental stories. A comparison of the father's features with Winner's later self-portrait suggests that this picture may be a romanticized group portrait of the artist and his family.