(Portrait Sketch of an Actor)

  • Unidentified, (Portrait Sketch of an Actor), ca. 1830, oil on wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1977.132

Luce Center Label

This unfinished portrait captures the guile and wariness of an actor who very likely had to struggle for a living. America’s middle class in the nineteenth century regarded actors as little better than peddlers and cardsharps. Only a few, such as Edwin Booth and Fanny Kemble, managed to achieve a measure of respectability. The uncertain, appraising look in the man’s eyes undercuts the cocky assurance of his preposterous and tattered straw hat.

Title
(Portrait Sketch of an Actor)
Artist
Date
ca. 1830
On View
Dimensions
20 x 15 7/8 in. (50.9 x 40.4 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on wood
Classifications
Keywords
  • Portrait male – unidentified
  • Performing arts – theater
Object Number
1977.132
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI