Imagine that for your entire childhood, family celebrations took place in your grandparents’ dining room including a self-portrait of an ancestor who benevolently watched over the festivities from the wall. While family lore confirmed that the subject was a successful artist in the early 1800s, hardly any other information is known about his existence, the extent of his artwork, or where he stood in relation to the hundreds of other artists that populated France during the 19th Century.
The natural frustration of having so little information about François Joseph Kinsoen was a recurring theme for Posey Boicourt as she grew up studying in art history and later as a writer on that subject. But when her Aunt Rozzie reached out to her to investigate the sale of her great uncle’s work a number of years ago, it set into motion a decades long search of his life, and with the stunning revelation of a remarkable legacy of a gifted and highly regarded portraitist in Napoleon’s Court.
Now, after countless research trips to France and in this country, Boicourt has brilliantly documented Kinsoen’s work with the publication of Blue Tulip: The Artistic Adventure with Painter François Joseph Kinsoen and his Niece Adele published by Story Arts Media.
The Talbot County writer sat down with the Spy a few weeks ago to talk about the project and what she found in this remarkable quest to recover family history and art history at the same time.
This video is approximately five minutes in length. Blue Tulip is available for purchase at the Trippe Gallery in Easton, Md.