JF Stephens

(American, 19th/20th Century)

Stephens was born in Wainsburg, Pennsylvania, in the 19th century. While not much is known about his life, for collectors of early Kentucky equine portraits the artist’s style provides valuable information about the context of his works. His trademark — a scroll around the bottom edge of his portraits with the inscribed name of the subject, owner, and oftentimes location — places his works historically. Active throughout the Midwest, he portrayed a variety of equine stock. His subject matter includes prized bulls and cows. His Kentucky portraiture in particular reflects the popular breeds of the commonwealth, including saddle horses, Thoroughbreds, and the Standardbred. Active in an important era of agricultural fairs and exhibitions, he found ready work through connections with various agricultural societies.

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