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FOLK ART
 
THE FOLK ART EXHIBIT
There are three parts to this exhibit:  folk art by 
Ruth W. and Samuel A. Shute from the painting 
collection of the Lowell Historical Society; early 
19th century illustrations, papers, books, and 
clothing from the library and clothing collections of 
the Lowell Historical Society; and a 19th century 
Lowell quilt from the New England Quilt Museum. 

Cynthia Jane Atkinson

THE LOWELL PORTRAITS OF
RUTH W. AND SAMUEL A. SHUTE

The Search
For more than a generation, folk art experts had 
been trying to discover the identities behind the 
signatures of R.W. Shute and S.A. Shute.  The 
first paintings to surface, a pair of oil portraits 
with both Shute signatures, were found in 1937 
by Edith Gregor Halpert, a pioneer in the 
rediscovery of American folk art. Ten years later, 
another signed painting, this time a watercolor, 
was acquired by Colonel Edgar William and 
Bernice Chryslar Garbisch (now at New York's 
Metropolitan Museum of Art).  One by one, 
portraits in similar style, or with mysterious 
double signatures, came to light in museums 
and private collections. 
     Efforts to identify these artists and to 
document their work were frustrated by

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