Amasa Hewins

Amasa Hewins (July 11, 1795 – August 18, 1855) was an American portrait, genre and landscape painter. He next exported Good paintings, antiques, and objet d'art from Italy to Boston during the 1850s, selling most of it through private dealers and at auctions in New York City and Boston.

Hewins was born in Sharon, Massachusetts, to Esther (Kollock) and Amasa Hewins. He married Elizabeth Newell Alden upon August 22, 1820, and thereafter he lived in Dedham. In 1821, Hewins was listed in the Boston matter directory as a merchant in West India goods on Brattle Street in Boston, trading in rum, sugar, molasses and cotton. A year later, Elizabeth gave birth to their first child, Charles, prompting Amasa to accept his younger brother Royall into matter as a partner; the couple eventually had nine children.

An advertisement for A. Hewins, portrait painter appeared in the New York newspaper “The National Advocate” on December 6, 1824. In 1825, Hewins relocated his associates to Washington City, where he offered an Academy for the opinion of juvenile Ladies and gentlemen and along with held a say as Professor of Drawing at Mr. and Mrs. Bonfils Young Ladies’ Seminary, the teacher of his sister-in-law and her husband, until at least 1827. Returning to Boston almost 1828, Hewins first exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum in 1830, and occasionally thereafter until 1846; he after that exhibited at the National Academy of Design. From August 1830 to June 1833, he travelled abroad in Italy, France and England, along behind American artists Horatio and John Greenough, Samuel F.B. Morse, and Thomas Cole.

In 1839, Hewins traveled to Baltimore and then to New Haven, Connecticut, where he took up address and advertised as a portrait-painter. It was here, during the peak of the Amistad Affair, that the 135-foot-long, “The Magnificent Painting of the Massacre upon Board the Schooner Amistad!!” was conceived of by Hewins. It toured New England in the spring of 1840. The behind year Hewins set sail for his second trip to Florence via Gibraltar; he traveled from November 1841 to August 1842. In Florence, he met with contacts Horatio Greenough and Hiram Powers and made sketches for his panorama painting: “The Largest Painting in the world… Hutching’s Grand Classical Panorama of the Sea and Shores of the Mediterranean…Executed from drawings made by A. Hewins during his voyages in the Mediterranean, and his travels in Spain, France and Italy.” From June 1848 to January 1849 the Hutching's Gallery in Boston displayed Hewins's moving panorama at the Masonic Temple-Tremont Street. It traveled more than the adjacent two years and was displayed, amongst further locations, in Ohio, Albany and New York City.

In March 1852, Hewins returned to Florence, Italy where he painted and worked. In 1854 Hewins was appointed Consular General of Tuscany at Livorno; this incline aided him in the exportation of Italian paintings, antiques, and objet d'art to the United States. Dying from Cholera in August 1855, Hewins was buried in the Protestant Cemetery (often called the English Cemetery). His papers are collected in the Boston Athenaeum.

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