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    Andrew Jackson: An Important Original Oil Portrait by Ralph E. W. Earl. Earl was closely associated with Jackson, and he was the most prolific painter of Jackson portraits during the president's life. This is a small original oil on paper housed in what is almost certainly its original birdseye maple frame. It is an expressive portrait, perhaps even conveying a sense of arrogance, showing Jackson in his General's uniform. It is signed in the light field "R. E. W. E. / after / S. L. W." The latter initials refer to Samuel Lovett Waldo. The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns an 1819 Waldo portrait of Jackson that is markedly similar to Earl's in the depiction of Jackson's face. Earl however has greatly changed the depiction from the neck down, adding a cloak draped around Jackson's uniform.

    Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl was born around 1788 in New York City. He was the son of a well-known portrait painter from the revolutionary period, Ralph Earl, who quite probably instructed his son in the art of portraiture. By 1804, his skills had developed to an astonishing level for such a young man, as he then painted a family portrait of sufficient quality to merit current display at the National Gallery, Washington D.C. His technique became even more sophisticated after he traveled to London in 1809 to study with John Trumble and Benjamin West. Further studies in Paris (1814-1815) allowed him to examine the master works of the Louvre. When he returned to the United States, his first project was to travel through the South, painting portraits and attempting a never-finished monumental depiction of the Battle of New Orleans. It was on this trip that he became acquainted with Andrew Jackson, the "Hero of New Orleans". In 1817, Earl visited Jackson's Tennessee home, The Hermitage, where he painted his earliest images of Jackson. He married Jackson's niece, Jane Caffery in 1819. Although she died tragically in childbirth the following year, Earl remained close to Jackson, and after the general's wife died in 1828 he moved into the Hermitage and became Jackson's closest companion. He died there in 1838. In addition to the National Gallery, Earl's paintings may be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. Interestingly, a nearly identical portrait of Jackson appears on page 127 of "Running for President: The Candidates and their Images, 1789-1896" by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. with Fred L. Israel and David J. Frent (Simon and Schuster, 1994). The pictured painting differs subtly from the present example, but it is so similar, even to the distinctive frame, that one might infer that Earl considered this a definitive image of Jackson which he painted repeatedly and presumably framed for commercial sale.Despite Earl's numerous depictions of Jackson, there is no modern auction record of the sale of an Earl painting with this subject. Earl portraits have sold in recent years for a wide range of prices, the highest being the 2006 sale of a pair of large portraits at a major New York auction gallery for $60,000. The present painting and frame are in beautiful condition. The portrait itself measures 2.75" x 3.25" while the overall framed dimensions are 8.25" x 9".

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2007
    26th-27th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,534

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