Racetrack Tout Trade Figure
Possibly carved by Charles Parker Dowler of Providence, Rhode Island, this type of swaggering caricature was popular with tobacconists.Full description »
Possibly carved by Charles Parker Dowler of Providence, Rhode Island, this type of swaggering caricature was popular with tobacconists. In catalogues, this model was sometimes known as ‘The Dude’ – a term initially used in America to denote a ridiculous and fastidiously dressed dandy.
The figure is carved by a master craftsman: rich curls cluster over the forehead, one of the eyes has a squint, the tight jacket pulls over the shoulders and the shoes are not a pair. In his raised hand, this disreputable figure probably once held advertising cards, in the guise of betting stubs. The holding slot for these is still visible on his thumb.
'This latter kind of functionality is a standard feature of trade figures, and is, it could be said, what makes them especially important to American folk art, for the very thing that makes them artistically significant is also what brings them into accord with a historical way of life.' Fred Giampietro, art dealer specializing in American folk art
From 1885 (circa) to 1895 (circa)