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1882 Oliver Ingraham Lay Born: New York, New York 1845 Died: 1890 oil on canvas mounted on wood 20 x 16 1/8 in. (50.8 x 40.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Given in memory of Charles Downing Lay and Laura Gill Lay by their children 1967.7.2 Not currently on view

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Oliver Ingraham Lay quietly established himself as a portrait painter and teacher in New York. When he died, his obituary in the New York Times listed only a handful of his paintings that had received attention during his lifetime. In this self-portrait, he pictured himself in his painter’s smock, the light of the studio falling softly across one side of his face and barely illuminating his eyes. It is as if Lay wanted to express the quiet nature of the career he had carved out for himself. A portrait he made of his son, Charles Downing Lay, is also in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection.


Occupation - art - painter

Portrait male - Lay, Oliver Ingraham - bust

Portrait male - Lay, Oliver Ingraham - self-portrait


paint - oil

fabric - canvas