DMA Snapshot: American Portraits

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Sometimes visitors will ask me what they should see if they don’t have much time to spend in the galleries. Generally, I like to tailor my suggestions to the visitors’ preference for a particular style of art, but sometimes I just really like to show off a few of my favorites. One of the sections that I like to visit is the wonderful (and impressive) portrait collection on Level 4 in the American Art Galleries. During a quick visit  you can see celebrities such as George Washington, whose portrait was painted in 1795 by Rembrandt Peale when the artist was only seventeen years old. It wasn’t until 1823 that Peale decided to improve on the original painting.

Rembrandt Peale, George Washington, c. 1850, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation

Rembrandt Peale, George Washington, c. 1850, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation

The sitter in John Singer Sargent’s Dorothy was the granddaughter of one of Sargent’s first American patrons, George Millar Williamson. Dorothy was selected to be a part of the Art Everywhere US campaign to celebrate American history and culture nationwide. Be on the lookout for her on outdoor displays this August.

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc.

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc.

You don’t want to miss the beautiful portrait of Theodore Roosevelt’s first cousin, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer).This portrait is stunning and perfectly exemplifies the practices of John White Alexander that put him on the map, not just as a portrait artists but also as a muralist and illustrator.

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-1902, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-1902, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan

The American Art Gallery features the finest portraits and decorative arts from the 18th and 19th centuries that America had to offer and is a definite must-see. If you’re yearning for more information, visit the DMA.mobi tour to learn interesting facts about more works in the collection, like John Singleton Copley’s portraits Woodbury Langdon and Sarah Sherburne Langdon. Then don’t forget to check in to the DMA Friends program to get your points!

Maegan Hoffman is Assistant Manager of the DMA Partners Program at the DMA.


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