American 18-19th Century Figurative and Portrait Art


(above: Charles Willson Peale, Self-portrait, c. 1791. National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.)




This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American 18-19th Century Figurative and Portrait Art." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

After articles and essays from Resource Library are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches. Following online resources may be information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

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Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:

2010 - present

Six Portraits by Jonathan Treadwell Donated to The Portsmouth Historical Society (6/5/15)

Artist & Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed (2/19/13)

The Indian Gallery of Henry Inman (7/15/12)

Annotations: George Cooke & Thomas Hope and the Influence of Antiquity (5/31/12)

Friend of the Family, Two Paintings by George Caleb Bingham; essay by Mary Francey (10/12/11)

2007 - 2009

Thomas Hovenden: American Painter of Hearth and Homeland; article by Michael Schantz (4/22/09)

Patrick Henry: Sentinel for the People, article by William Rasmussen (2/2/09)

First Fitzhughs of Virginia: A Colonial Dynasty Painted by John Hesselius, article by William Rasmussen (1/30/09)

Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend, article by William Rasmussen (1/29/09)

Introduction: Enlarging a Little Giant; essay by Harold Holzer (8/21/08)

Charles Willson Peale and His Family of Painters; essay by Louise Lippincott (7/24/08)

John Singleton Copley's 'Native' Realism & His English 'Improvement'; exhibition description by Emily Ballew Neff (11/8/07)

Tracing the Nation: Recently Acquired American Drawings (9/17/07)

The Peale Legacy: The Art of an American Family, 1770-1870; article by Lillian Miller (6/6/07)

In Pursuit of Fame: Rembrandt Peale, 1778 - 1860; article by Lillian Miller (6/5/07)


Eastman Johnson: Paintings and Drawings of the Lake Superior Ojibwe (10/2/06)

A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster, Jr. (5/10/06)

Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster, Jr. (4/25/05)

Point of Sight: Thomas Eakins' Drawing Manual Reconstructed (3/21/05)

Gilbert Stuart (3/8/05)

Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children (3/1/05)

Painted Faith: Traditional New Mexican Devotional Images; essay by Cody James Hartley (2/28/05)


George Catlin and His Indian Gallery (9/13/04)

Seen But Not Heard: Images of Children from the Collection of the Boston Athenæum (9/13/04)

Gilbert Stuart (8/17/04)

America's First Old Master: Portraits by John Singleton Copley from The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (5/1/04)

Process and Paradox: The Historical Pictures of John Singleton Copley (4/1/04)

Thomas Eakins' "The Swimming Hole"; essay by Doreen Bolger and Claire M. Barry (4/1/04)

From Hand to Heart: The Art of the American Miniature Portrait; essay by Peter J. Baldaia (3/22/04)

Faces From the Past: Portraits by Cephas Thompson and Cephas Giovanni Thompson (3/9/04)

Mr. Whistler's Galleries: Avant-garde in Victorian London (12/1/03)

George Washington: A National Treasure (11/26/03)

George Washington: A National Treasure (8/12/03)


Whistler, Women, and Fashion (8/12/02)

George Catlin and His Indian Gallery (7/31/02)

Sargent's "Madame X"; or, Assertion and Retreat in Woman; essay by Lynette Abel (7/1/02)

Cecilia Beaux: The Oil Sketch and Representationist Thought in the Philadelphia School of Painting; essay by Patrick Connors (5/14/02)

His and Hers: Folk Portraits of Husbands and Wives (4/26/02)

Whistler's Nudes at the Freer Gallery of Art (2/13/02)

George Washington by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) at The Frick Collection (2/11/02)

Lincoln and Washington: The Printmakers Blessed Their Union; article by Harold Holzer (2/4/02)

The Early Portraits of Lincoln; article by Louis A. Warren (1/9/02)

Love ond Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures (2/26/01)

Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures at Yale University Art Gallery (2/26/01

A Brush with History: Paintings from the National Portrait Gallery (1/19/01)


Thomas Sully in the Metropolitan (6/12/00)

Henry Benbridge (1743 - 1812): Charleston Portrait Painter (6/5/00)

Eastman Johnson: Painting America (2/16/00)

New Mexican Madonnas, 1775-1998 (12/19/99)

"Almost a Deception ..."John Singleton Copley and Company in Williamsburg (11/25/99)

Miniature Portraits: Leila Waring (10/11/99)

Charleston Connections: 1670 -1865 (10/11/99)

John Singleton Copley and Margaret Kemble Gage: Turkish Fashion in 18th Century America (6/11/99)

Sargent in the Studio: Drawings, Sketchbooks, and Oil Sketches (6/8/99)

John Singer Sargent at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (6/4/99)

Frank Duveneck (1848-1919): Virtuoso of the Brush (5/30/99)

Abbott Thayer: The Nature of Art (5/16/99)

Facing the Past: Portraits from the Permanent Collection of Muscarelle Museum of Art (5/12/99)

American Art at Biltmore House (5/11/99)

Espana: American Artists and the Spanish Experience (2/20/99)

Copley Painting Stays in Philadelphia (2/7/99)

Whistler and Vanderbilt: An Artist and His Patron (2/6/99)

John Singer Sargent (2/4/99)

First in the Hearts of His Countrymen: George Washington (2/2/99)


George Washington: American Symbol (12/4/98)

The Snite Acquires Bierstadt Landscape, American Portraits and Fairfield Porter Canvas (8/24/98)

A Sargent Celebration at the Huntington (7/29/98)

Colonial Portraits by Copley Join DMA Collection

Also see Miniature Painting


From other websites:

In October 2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art launched MetPublications, an online resource that offers in-depth access to the Museum's print and online publications, covering art, art history, archaeology, conservation, and collecting. Titles relating to American representational art available for free viewing via.pdf download or online reading as of 2013 include: American Portrait Miniatures in the Manney Collection; Johnson, Dale T. (1990) Accessed August, 2015.

American Portraits from the Cleveland Museum of Art, an exhibit held August 29 - December 17, 2006 at Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College. Accessed August, 2015.

Annotations: George Cooke & Thomas Hope and the Influence of Antiquity, an exhibit held February 5, 2012 - July 22, 2012 at the Columbus Museum. Includes an online companion devoted to the exhibit. Accessed August, 2015.

Deacon Peckham's Hobby Horse, an exhibit held May 27 - October 8, 2012 at the National Gallery of Art. Includes 48-page exhibit brochure and press materials. Accessed August, 2015.

Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children, an exhibit held October 8, 2004 - January 16, 2005 at the Brooklyn Museum. From the Brooklyn Museum. Accessed August, 2015.

Thomas Sully: Painted Performance, an exhibit held October 11, 2013-January 5, 2014 at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Accessed February, 2015.


"Political Portraiture in the United States and France during the Revolutionary and Federal Eras circa 1776-1814" at National Portrait Gallery, September 25 & 26, 2014, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, from the Terra Foundation for American Art Web page linking to audio and video resources. Accessed October, 2015.

The WGBH/Boston Forum Network is an audio and video streaming web site dedicated to curating and serving live and on-demand lectures, including a number of videos on Art and Architecture. Partners include a number of museums, colleges, universities and other cultural organizations. See listings of related videos in this catalogue indexed by partner name. Boston Athenaeum partnered with the WGBH Forum Network for a series of lectures on American art by David Dearinger, who is Susan Morse Hilles Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Boston Athenaeum. An art historian and curator, he received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, with a specialty in nineteenth-century American art. Titles include: Familar Faces: Gilbert Stuart's George & Martha Washington (53 minutes) is an illustrated lecture by Ellen Miles, curator, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian in which she "... discusses Gilbert Stuart's creation in 1796 of his very familiar life portrait of George Washington, together with its companion portrait of Martha Washington, often known as the 'Athenaeum portraits' because they were owned by the Boston Athenaeum for more than 150 years. Ellen Miles describes the relationship between the Washingtons and the artist, the reason for the incomplete composition of the two portraits, and the immediate and lasting success of the portrait of the President, in contrast to the relative obscurity of the portrait of Martha Washington."; Life Drawing in 19th Century America, (55 minutes) an illustrated lecture by Elliot Bostwick Davis, John Cabot Chair, Museum of Fine Arts, compares Darwin's evolutionary theory to the style of life drawing taught in Boston and New York by William Rimmer (1816-1879). [February 24, 2005] Accessed May, 2015.



Alabama Portraits Prior to 1870, By National Society of the Colonial Dames of America Alabama. Historical Activities Committee. 1969. 417 pages


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