President Andrew Jackson

Media - 1968.155.58 - SAAM-1968.155.58_1 - 3270
Copied Hiram Powers, President Andrew Jackson, modeled 1835, plaster, 28 3823 3816 18 in. (72.159.340.8 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson, 1968.155.58
Free to use

Artwork Details

Title
President Andrew Jackson
Artist
Date
modeled 1835
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
28 3823 3816 18 in. (72.159.340.8 cm.)
Credit Line
Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson
Mediums
Mediums Description
plaster
Classifications
Keywords
  • Occupation — political — president
  • Study — sculpture model
  • Portrait male — Jackson, Andrew — bust
Object Number
1968.155.58

Artwork Description

Hiram Powers modeled this portrait of Andrew Jackson during his second term as president. Sixty-seven-year old Jackson removed his false teeth for the sittings, insisting, "Make me as I am, Mr. Powers . . . I have no desire to look young as long as I feel old." Powers faithfully sculpted Jackson's sunken upper jaw and the heavy folds of his skin but added a classical flair by draping the bust with a toga and leaving the eyeballs uncarved to reflect contemporary neoclassical tastes. The portrait was deemed a true likeness of the problematic figure, who benefitted financially from labor of enslaved people and whose administration was marked by policies of racial violence, including the Indian Removal Act.

Reading his failure to find a Washington, DC--patron to commission this portrait in marble as a lack of support for the arts, Powers moved permanently to Florence, Italy, in 1837. He eventually carved Jackson's portrait in marble and used this plaster cast in the replication process, as evidenced by the metal registration points that remain visible on its surface.