James Buchanan

  • Jacob Eichholtz, James Buchanan, 1834, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Harriet Lane Johnston, 1906.9.5

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James Buchanan served many roles before he was elected the fifteenth president of the United States. This portrait was painted after his term as minister to Russia, but he also acted as a representative, senator, and secretary of state. Jacob Eichholtz's painting accurately depicts Buchanan, who often wore black suits and large white cravats. The future president appears composed and confident, but his slightly uneven eyes give him an intimidating stare. The portrait was owned by Buchanan and then given to his niece, Harriet Lane Johnston, who served as his official hostess at the White House during his administration.

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"He was, on the whole, a distinguished and handsome looking man, and his size and fine proportions gave a dignity and commanding air to his personal presence. His manner and bearing had much of the old-fashioned courtly school about it." James Buchanan Henry, quoted in The Works of James Buchanan, ed. John Bassett Moore, 1911, p. 330
James Buchanan
36 1/8 x 28 1/4 in. (91.7 x 71.8 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bequest of Harriet Lane Johnston

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Portrait male – Buchanan, James – waist length
  • Occupation – political – president
Object Number
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