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Portrait of a Gentleman

ca. 1805 Unidentified watercolor on paperboard sight 2 7/8 x 2 1/4 in. (7.3 x 5.7 cm) oval Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1979.152 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

Most portrait miniatures were painted in watercolor on ivory, but here the artist used paperboard, a less expensive material that was probably requested by the sitter. The gold frame and warm yellow background contrast with the black paperboard, emphasizing the gentleman’s profile view and his fashionable high-collared coat. His straight posture and stern gaze suggest a serious personality, while the slightly disheveled hair implies a more romantic side.


Portrait male - unidentified - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor