What we today call America folk art was, indeed, art of, by, and for ordinary, everyday "folks" who, with increasing prosperity and leisure, created a market for art of all kinds, and especially for portraits. Citizens of prosperous, essentially middle-class republics—whether ancient Romans, seventeenth-century Dutch burghers, or nineteenth-century Americans—have always shown a marked taste for portraiture. Starting in the late eighteenth century, the United States contained increasing numbers of such people, and of the artists how could meet their demands.
The earliest American folk art portraits come, not surprisingly, from New England—especially Connecticut and Massachusetts—for this was a wealthy and populous region and the center of a strong craft tradition. Within a few decades after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the population was pushing westward, and portrait painters could be found at work in western New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri. Midway through its first century as a nation, the United States' population had increased roughly five times, and eleven new states had been added to the original thirteen. During these years the demand for portraits grew and grew, eventually to be satisfied by the camera. In 1839 the daguerreotype was introduced to America, ushering in the age of photography, and within a generation the new invention put an end to the popularity of painted portraits. Once again an original portrait became a luxury, commissioned by the wealthy and executed by the professional.
But in the heyday of portrait painting—from the late eighteenth century until the 1850's—anyone with a modicum of artistic ability could become a limner, as such a portraitist was called. Local craftspeople—sign, coach, and house painters—began to paint portraits as a profitable sideline; sometimes a talented man or woman who began by sketching family members gained a local reputation and was besieged with requests for portraits; artists found it worth their while to pack their paints, canvases, and brushes and to travel the countryside, often combining house decorating with portrait painting.
41. In 1st paragraph line 4, the author mentions seventeenth-century Dutch burghers as an example
of a group that ______.
(A) consisted mainly of self taught artists
(B) appreciated portraits
(C) influenced American folk art
(D) had little time for the arts