Ezra Ames (1768-1836)

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The Fondey Family

The Fondey Family

Ezra Ames was an early American artist, born in Massachusetts and raised in New York. Ames initially was a carriage and furniture painter in Massachusetts, and around 1790 he began to paint portraits and specialized in miniatures. He moved his family to Albany in 1795, and joined a sign painting and portrait business.

 James Rivington 1806

James Rivington 1806

Throughout his career, Ames painted over 700 recorded pictures, 500 of which were portraits of families in Albany. These paintings were executed in a number of different styles. For 40 years, Ames was the most prominent portrait painter in Albany, and is thought to be the most prolific artist that the city has ever seen.

Portrait of a Young Boy

Portrait of a Young Boy

Ames has been hailed by art critics for his use of different techniques in his paintings like trompe l’oeil, as well as for creating Realistic depictions of his sitters. Though the majority of his paintings were portraits, Ames also created a number of landscapes, still life, historical scenes and engravings.

Philip van Cortlandt 1810

Philip van Cortlandt 1810

Today, the biggest collection of Ames’ work is housed at the Albany Institute of History and Art, and other pieces are scattered in public and private collections all over the world. Still wondering about that portrait of a distant relative from Albany hanging in your home? Contact us…it could be by Ezra Ames.

Simeon De Witt

Simeon De Witt