Harriet Lane Johnston

  • William Henry Rinehart, Harriet Lane Johnston, 1873, marble, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Harriet Lane Johnston, 1994.72

Luce Center Label

In 1841, U.S. senator James Buchanan became the guardian of his niece Harriet Lane (1830-1903), who had lost both of her parents. As she matured, Harriet’s sharp wit, sociability, and good looks made her a political asset. When the bachelor Buchanan was elected president of the United States in 1856, Harriet became the official hostess of the White House. In her new capacity, she entertained artists and supported them in their efforts to establish a national art museum. She also welcomed international guests to Washington, including Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales.

Luce Object Quote

“Mrs. Johnston has held the highest social position an American woman can hold, both in this country and in England, and she is a high-bred woman, of stately manner and beautiful personality.” Los Angeles Times, 1887

Title
Harriet Lane Johnston
Artist
Date
1873
On View
Dimensions
28 x 18 7/8 x 12 5/8 in. (71.2 x 48.0 x 32.1 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bequest of Harriet Lane Johnston

Mediums
Mediums Description
marble
Classifications
Keywords
  • Portrait female – Johnston, Harriet Lane – bust
  • Occupation – domestic – hostess
Object Number
1994.72
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI