tv American Artifacts CSPAN October 16, 2015 11:05pm-11:36pm EDT
it's evidence that copley gets 0 much of his -- much of his training comes from the fact tri that his father was an engravere or his stepfather was an engraver and he had access to engravings from europe and this compositional idea probably came from that. i love to look at this just a little bit. t it must be his waistcoat showing through. must he's dressed for conservativelys in a very simple cloth, but youy have that gold brocade coming through. it's a wonderful painting. he was a harvard graduate. if you look across the room, if this man painted 12 years later by copley was his harvard rd roommate. his little did they they -- not hish roommate, his classmate. little did they think they would be hanging together in this gallery. this is eleazer tyng. i think he owned land in new hampshire and was also a think e
massachusetts merchant and political figure. he was 82 when this was painted. copley's shown him just as he was. you'll notice the way he's painted the face and the hands is a little different. this is 12 years later. copley's changed his technique, so the hands are painted with al little bit more fluid paint and in the face as well. it's easier to show the details, so copley is changing and developing as he goes along through his career in boston.il so copley's portraits of men po show you these very substantial realistic figures that look ial comfortable in their setting an you have a sense that they had, these two men especially, that , they've had successful lives and they're in a good place. his paintings of women sometimee
are just so ravishingly beautiful in their attention to fabric and texture and the o beauty of the skin, like this portrait of anne fairchild bowler. ms. metcalfe bowler. this was painted in 1763, so about the same time he was proac painting epes sergeant, but it's a totally different approach. look at the beauty of the es garland and the lace sleeves on her dress. you can see his training in engraving and in fine detail when you see how he's treated il these fabrics. treate she's again shown with a column and the drapery in a very etting classical setting that he probably saw in european engravings. there's an interesting story to this woman. she was married to metcalfe bowler. he was very, very wealthy.mount he accumulated a huge amount ofi wealth in the shipping industry. and they had a home in newport. he was very active in political affairs. they lived on clark street.tivei
in 1763 he had accumulated so 3e much wealth that they retired to their country estate in portsmouth, new hampshire. i think there was 70 acres, 11 , of which were devoted to hey we greenhouses and flowers. maybe that's where her garland comes from. so they were happily loving on this estate in new hampshire, but the war came along and the british soldiers ravished his estate.h his income from shipping totallf stopped, and things got very hard for metcalfe.ly disco it was only discovered in the 20th century at that point he corresponded with general eco clinton, sir clinton, who was the british soldier and british commander of the area. he wrote to him offering intelligence in exchange for n protection from the soldiers for some cash.
this was not discovered until the 20th century when clinton's papers went to the clement's library in ann arbor and this correspondence was discovered. so it doesn't look like he got much assistance, much protection, or much cash because his circumstances were protecti considerably reduced after the war. he and his wife moved to providence where they set up a shop. he became a shopkeeper and they had a boardinghouse. so the question is, did ann knod about his traitorous activities? we don't know, but it doesn't take away from this beautiful portrait of this young, very confident, self-assured looking young woman with her beautiful garland of flowers and her th beautiful lace sleeves. another portrait in this room on a woman by copley is this one of abigail smith babcock, the wife
of another wealthy merchant, who was not a spy. he was a patriot, and he provided ships and assistance t the revolutionary troops. she's shown in this beautiful, very stylish dress. often you see it in white, but this style that comes from but ancient greece or turkish fashions of the empire waist ano the gold and pearl belt that she's wearing. she has that incredible cape, which makes you think was that s hu hersd or was that something s copley used in his studio. we don't know.elet she's holding a beautiful garnet bracelet. she's holding onto the clasp, but she has the beads of the garnet wound around her fingers. it's a lovely portrait.ndfi you'll see as we go through the
galleries that many times the te husband and wife were painted or children, son and pain daughter-in-law were painted.tea these were family portraits or efforts to portray the whole family.he whole they would have been the only way of recording a likeness because photography wasn't available yet, so there were there and probably hung in the homes unless they were in some r cases commissioned for political -- for like a state house or something like that. but these are personal that we're looking at. copley lived on beacon hill in boston. he'd had a quite lucrative rem business as a portrait painter. this is one of the last ones -- actually, i do remember that he painted her husband as well, mr. adam babcock. these paintings were done in ngn 1774, which were some of the 174 last ones copley painted before he left boston for europe. he had a lucrative practice.
i think he just -- 1774, he knew tories and he knea patriots. he didn't seem to differentiate between the two. the he probably lived amongst both. i think he just got tired of the turmoil. it became not particularly lucrative. nobody was thinking about having a portrait painted when revolutionary activities were becoming so prevalent, so he esr just decided this was the time to go.ecomi amazingly enough he left his wife and four children in boston and went to england and then ton italy to study. his wife met him in england. but when he left, i don't think that was necessarily the plan, but activities -- it became so turbulent here that he decided it was safer for her to come to england, so she came with her father.me so as i said, copley in 1774 d, decided it was time to leave
boston and go to europe to study. he had been encouraged by stud benjamin west to come for yearsj so he finally decided the revolution's coming.e things aren't good for portraiture here in boston. i think it's time to go.rtrait he went to england briefly and met with west and then he went o to italy to study for a year. wa his family, his wife and four children, were left behind with her father richard clark.ildren they eventually joined him in london. when copley came back to london after his year in italy, he was so pleased to be reunited with his family he painted this lond portrait in celebration of thatp reunion, so this is copley in hi the back holding some sheets ofo paper and his family in the foreground. his wife with his young son, john copley jr., and his father-in-law is holding the youngest child, the recently born baby.y
there's an interesting story about that. and the other two girls, you see their dolls.r a doll and a hat here in the corner. they're in the home of lester square, number 12 lester square, that richard clark on. when copley learned that his bak wife had come to london, he was still in italy. she said she came with three of the children.she he asked her which one did you leave behind.child it must have been the youngest one because he was so delicate. she did leave their youngest son behind.en he died in january. he never came to england. when copley started this y
painting of his family, the baby would have been that child, but that child died and copley must have known his wife was expecting another. he left the space and painted in the fifth child in this painting.yo one child is not here. his image of his wife kind of reminds you of an italian trays madonna and betrays his study in italy the year before they came. they're sitting in furniture that would have been in their home in london.ar richard clark, copley's wife's father, was a merchant in boston with tory leanings, and it was his tea, the tea that was dumpea into the boston harbor at the t tea party had been received by e his receiving company, so it wan hisy. tea that was dumped into o harbor. so he lea probably had good rea to leave and go to england.rt
so this whole idea of a group portrait is something new, much beyond what the early limners in america could do.wlimbner it's a baroque idea of a group portrait -- is a complicated thing to carry off. copley learned this while he was studying in italy.ying we can go back into the room. we're back in the room with copley portraits. this is another group portrait g that copley painted once he went to englandtr.ticated again, this is a very sophisticated effort on his para to capture a modern-day history scene, a modern-day something that actually happened. this painting was commissioned by brook watson when he was the lord mayor of london. this was something that happenes to him as a young man when he s was on a merchant ship and they were outside of havana, in
havana harbor, when he decided to go for a swim in the water e and was attacked by a shark.in these are men coming to his rescue. water he lose his leg in this effort, but he saw it in later life as a way of lat dealing with adversi and conquering adversity, so ts this is kind of a moral lesson.d he commissioned this painting to show posterity, that he had been able to triumph over this great adversity of losing his leg to the shark, so it is an amazing painting by copley.at he'd obviously never seen a shark before. that shark has ears. copley is in england now.ear to bacs.k to our focus on amerin portraits, let's look at this portrait by edward savage, another american painter who was self-trained. copley would have said he was self-trained too, but he had hio father-in-law to teach him and t then he went to work with west
in england, but this is edward n savage, who was a self-trained painter.bu this painting was done in 1789. it's after the revolutionary war. we're in a new phase here.war. this, of course, is washington a with his family. very similar to the copley with his family, but this is george s washington who by this time is the central focus of life in america. he's seated with his family at mount vernon. it's george dressed in his revolutionary war uniform and martha washington, her lovely self as always, dressed in a gee beautiful gray satin with a laci shawl. george has his hand on the table at the center of the composition and his other arm is resting onn his young ward and stepchild, john washington park custis.
george and martha called wash. martha is shown with nelly custis. these are martha's grandchildren. the children of her son jackie custis who died early of what might be called cabin fever or typhoid. these children came to live with martha and george. they lived when he was presidenn in philadelphia and new york and then they came to mount vernon. so they were very, very close, part of the family. george washington had high hopes for young wash. they didn't quite work out that way.idn't he wasn't ready to take on the t kind of activities that george washington had hoped with government and all, but he has his arm resting on him. you can see young wash's hand n the globe, which is maybe an indication of those hopes for him. martha and nelly are holding a map. and that happens to be a plan for washington.
martha is pointing to something on the map. we think it might be hol pennsylvania avenue or the grand avenue or something on -- maybe where the white house would be,e somethingnu on that plan. the setting is mount vernon, washington's home, 30 miles up the potomac. the unidentified black servant i in the corner of the painting, it's not known.known. it might be meant to portray washington's very devoted gton's personal slave who was with him through the war.ev his name was will, william lee, whom washington freed with his will.e, in his will, his was the second name mentioned after martha's. it may just been to add -- makem it known it was a virginia planter's home.a but the view up the potomac is toward washington. this was painted -- there was a
commission for a painting at harvard by savage. that is what led to this commission. i'm not sure where it hung.t i think savage showed it. i think it was more -- i think it may have been something savage kept and allowed people to see because people were so interested. it was the talk of philadelphia when it was being painted. the t everybody wanted to see it. to george washington was just so important. everyone wanted an image of him. we'll see with the later stuart portraits. every painter wanted to paint him, and everyone wanted a copy of those paintings. they are reproduced.an this was very, very popular and was reproduced many times by print and engraving. in fact, it was engraved before it was finished because there yd are engraved versions of it that show wash and nelly much younger than they were.
then he went back and changed it because they had grown. they had grown in a few years time. a young boy like that would a change and a young girl, so he n had to go back and repaint them. there are engraved versions that are different. it's interesting.are we'll see nelly custis again in another room painted by stuart. there's another painting by copley in this room. i just want to point out. it's an early portrait by copley that we will see this young woman's husband in a later roomo this is elizabeth gray, and she's painted in a very fantastic way. she's shown here as a shepherdess, and she's holding a crook,lowers in her hair. this is maybe a bridal portrait of her. she married samuel otis.
mercy otis warren was a writer and she wrote in favor of american liberties, and james otis was a politician who t tremendously supported the revolution as did his brother ot samuel, her husband. but her father, harrison gray, who copley also painted, was a tory, a high tory, and left for england when the revolution broke out. his painting, however, ended up with her.wever whether he left it with her as s way of remembering him, we don't know.m, here's an instance of a family just totally torn by the revolutionary war. her father left for england. this painting was cut back at mo some point, cut down at some point on the sides. you can see the tip of her me p shepherd's crook was cut off and probably the tips of her fingers
over there and the bottom was cut off, perhaps even cutting . off her hand. we don't know why it was cut back at some point. sometimes people did it just to make it fit a frame. whywas so in this room, let's see, there are paintings by other american artists. the one i want to focus on is as charles willson peale. peale is another person who painted washington many times. we don't have that here, but we do have this interesting portrait of john boardley by s d peale. peale was an american painter who was a tremendously energetic man.ed out a he always had projects going. he started out as a saddler. he did metal work. he was born in maryland and lived in annapolis. lived he traveled back and forth to philadelphia and various places. to do portraits eventually when
he decided he would begin painting.a then he eventually went -- like copley, he eventually went to england and spent some years with benjamin west. benjamin west was an amazing figure who welcomed almost every painter we're going to talk re about today except for savage. west was always welcoming. and they said he never held anything back.aid he always told everything he as knew, so he was willing to share everything he knew. this painting by charles willson peale, this was a man who was a lawyer and a businessman in a annapolis, and he is one of the men who put money together in order to send charles willson peale to england to study with west. he and about ten men put together funds in order to give peale a fellowship with benjamin west, and then he came back to n paint in annapolis and then ack eventually moved to philadelphia.
this man, this painting, shows f him in a very -- the message ofl this painting is the american colonies will not tolerate british control. the feeling was that britain was going back on her word, that american colonists were britisho citizens and they should be treated as such. t and this painting shows two things. it shows in the background the abundance of the american and th colonies and this man's point. he tried very hard to live this way. american's could be economically self-sufficient. he made his own beer. he had his own homespun -suffi clothing. he didn' mt wantad to rely on england for anything. you can see his sheep grazing on his plantation, eastern shore plantation farm.astern the pack horse over here loadedk with plenty, the peach tree up above him. he grew peaches on his farm.ove so all of these things attest te
the ability of the colonies to f sustain themselves economically. and in the foreground there are things that point to english law.und that he's pointing his finger to a ni figure of justice standing on a column that says lex anglis, means english law. this thing that's torn over here kind of refers to the english attempts to tax the colonies differently than they tax people in england. he's basically saying the law in england says this and you're trying to do this.d you're treating us differently and that shouldn't be.hat s so this is really a political statement. very complicated iconography that probably worked out with charles willson peale. peale was a very prominent whige politician, a republican politician, in favor of the american republic. these paintings are primary sources.ican they really are. they're here for us to look at.
there's no filter on them. they are just as they were painted. the only filter is what we might bring to them. if we look carefully and try to. understand them, i think they're a great source for understanding who the people were and what life was like at that time. li this was the first of a t two-part look at american portraits at the national gallery of art. you can view this and all other american history tv programs at our website, c-span.org/historye join american history tv on saturday, november 7th for tour and live interviews from the national world war ii museum in new orleans. we'll explore the u.s.s. tang . submarine experience, the road to berlin, and the e u.s. african-american story., the ro and we'll take your questions e for historians joining us from e new orleans throughout the day.r world war ii 70 years later live from the national world war ii museum saturday, november 7th r beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern
here on american history tv on c-span 3. each week american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historic places. located on the national mall in washington, d.c., the national gallery of art was a gift to tho american people from financier andrew melon, who served as treasury secretary from 1921 to 1932. up next in the second of a we two-part program, we visit the museum to learn about early american portrait painting. in this program, we feature the work of gilbert stuart, whose unfinished portrait of george washington is the image on the $1 bill.st >> hello.ington i i'm dianne stephens. i'm from the education $1 department, the national gallery of art. john trumbull is an artist who was well known for his history l paintings in america. not as much for portraiture. he aspired to be a history in painter. then he eventually went, like
copley, to england and studied. spent a couple years with benjamin west.ey benjamin west was an amazing ys figure who welcomed almost every painter we're going to talk pa about today wentin to england a studied with west at some time and learned the art of history painting. came back to the colonies. this is his portrait of alexander hamilton, who was a very prominent figure among our early fathers of this country. and it's interesting that here alexander hamilton is hanging next to gilbert stuart's portrait of john jay. alexander hamilton, john jay, and john madison wrote the federalist papers. also in 1794 john jay invited alexander hamilton to be part on the treaty commission in londoni so there's quite a connection e between these two men. who knew they would hang next to each other in the national gallery? looking at john jay leads us toe
gilbert stuart, who is the preimamerican painter of the federal period. he went to study with benjamin west early n his career, and he worked in london for over ten years. he was a very well established painter in london. very proficient and could have n stayed in england painting, could have sold his paintings dn there, but he just accumulated debtpa.in p he couldn't keep -- he made a good living, but he couldn't keep up with it. so he left london and went to dublin. spent a couple years there dubl tryingin to get rid of his creditors, but the same thing f happened to him in dublin.id he accumulated all sorts of debts, and he decided he would e come to america and paint ri and washington and he would make his fortune by painting washington.t so in 1793 he came to america.in he didn't go to paint washingtoi immediately though.ough. he stopped in new york city and he painted there for about a year and a half. and
in a year and a half's time, hea painted 36 paintings, 36 portraits.ted he was doing quite well. he knew john jay. he met john jay when he was in england. john jay introduced him to his y circle of friends. he also knew a family in irelanw that introduced him to a circlet of friends, so he was right awar very busy doing portraits. his technical skills were so amazing.y he was so proficient that no one could top gilbert stuart.k this is his portrait of john jay done in new york in 1794. john jay is shown in his amazing robe. these are the robes given to him by harvard. that's why he's shown in this r. beautiful red and black costumek rather than a more conservativea suit. he's got his hand resting on a . book and the other hand on his lap. res just the picture of judicial jut
proficiency. it was john jay. gilbert stuart's purpose of coming to america was to paint washington and it was john jay who gave him his letter of introduction to washington whena he eventually went to philadelphia to paint washington, so it was john jay who really made that possible for him. before going to washington, let's go into the next gallery.a before painting washington, as r said, stuart spent a year and a half in new york and painted many portraits while he was there.york and we're lucky enough to have, oh, probably eight of them. he painted a whole series of a portraits for the yates pollock family. two of them are hanging right here. yates this is catherine brass yates.y mrs. richard yates. stuart at his most amazing. catherine yates was married to richard yates who hangs on the other side of the doorway over there.
he had an importing company, soh they were import/exporters of c, goods. they took to the west indies t cloth and flour and things like that. they transported to the west ad indies and brought back molasses and rum and sugar and those things from the west indies. he had a flourishing import/export business.heng her husband eventually did end up siding with the british and they left new york for a littleh while, but came back when hal came back and occupied new yorki in 1775 or 76.e here they did not leave the country. they were here during the war. catherine brass yates, she's a 57, 58-year-old woman when stuart painted her and she paid wasn't very beautiful, but he's done an amazing thing.
he's shown her in her long faceg and her pointed nose. he's shown her turned sideways to us in the midst of -- she had so much to do. she was such an industrious dnrson. she couldn't stop working while he was painting her. here she is sewing. whpa the way her little finger stretches that piece of thread out and she has the glitter of her thimble in her hand and then the needle in her hand and the shine of the light on her sh thread. her beautiful monochrome gray satin dress that she's wearing, very simple.e' the reflections of the red of i. her chair coming into the satin in more places than here, but in other places as well. more little brass tacks on her chairl the glint of her wedding ring. d most of all it is a study in grays and browns.