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    Andrew Jackson: A Very Rare and Important Unpublished Small Portrait at a Fairly Young Age, Probably circa 1815-1820. Our research uncovered but two portraits of Jackson from this early period, one at the National Portrait Gallery, and the other at the Philadelphia Masonic Museum (please see lot presentation on our website HA.com). It is sometimes tricky to confirm the subject of a portrait or early photo based on resemblance only, but in this case the resemblance is so strong as to leave no uncertainty in identifying the subject as Jackson. Particularly noteworthy is the exact conformance of the decoration on Jackson's upturned military officer's collar with that on the two previously identified Jackson portraits. Also conclusive is the very distinctive coiffure, (rather reminiscent of contemporary television personality Conan O'Brien!).

    This portrait possesses a very charming almost folk art quality, and is expertly rendered, although unsigned. It appears to be inspired by the National Portrait Gallery painting, executed by Ralph E. W. Earl in 1817. It has more of a folk art quality than Earl's portrait, and it seems unlikely that it is also by Earl. Interestingly, Jackson's hair color in the present version seems to have more of a reddish cast than in Earl's portrait. Researchers at the Hermitage confirm that in his younger years, thanks to his Irish ancestry, Jackson's hair did have an auburn aspect which turned browner and then famously white as he aged. By the time that the portraits known to date from 1815-20 were painted, it would seem that his hair had turned to the sandy brown color. Earl had direct access to Jackson, so it must be presumed that at least his portrait accurately depicts Jackson's hair color at that point in his life. The fact that the portrait offered here seems to show the influence of Earl's, except that the hair is more red, suggests the possibility that the artist may have known or at least seen Jackson at an earlier time in his life, when his hair had more of a reddish cast. In any case, the style of the original frame clearly dates it to the same general time period as the Earl portrait.

    When we studied this piece, it was clear that the original hand-forged iron nails holding the wooden back in place had never been disturbed (see photos on our web site). However, we elected to open the back to see if an artist's signature or other information was present. Unfortunately this proved not to be the case, but the manner in which the painting is sealed further confirms that it had been untouched since originally framed.

    It is probable that the portrait is painted on natural substance, although it may be paper. Since it is sealed, it is difficult to be sure. Both painting and frame are in excellent condition. The image itself measures approximately 2.5" x 3", although as framed its presence belies its size. The frame is 6.25" x 6.25". An utterly charming and rare original image of our seventh president.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    18th Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,797

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