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Jeremiah Williams

ca. 1789-1790 Christian Gullager Born: Copenhagen, Denmark 1759 Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1826 oil on canvas 29 5/8 x 24 3/4 in. (75.4 x 62.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1977.101.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 1A


Luce Center Label

Jeremiah Williams was a merchant from Roxbury, Massachusetts, who dealt in "a general assortment of West-India Goods," according to the 1789 Massachusetts Centinel. In 1787 he married Matilda Davis, whose father, Caleb Davis, was a significant figure in Boston society. Williams's obituary mentioned his wealthy father-in-law, suggesting that the union with Matilda elevated his own status in society (Sadik, Christian Gullager: Portrait Painter to Federal America, 1976). Christian Gullager painted the young merchant wearing handsome clothing and a stern, imposing expression. The papers in the sitter's hand and books on the table behind were often incorporated into colonial paintings to emphasize the sitter's education and refinement. Williams's portrait projects a social standing that men of his class aspired to, even if they had not yet achieved it.

Keywords

Portrait male - Williams, Jeremiah - waist length

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Christian Gullager

Born: Copenhagen, Denmark 1759 Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1826

More works in the collection by
Christian Gullager