Gilbert Stuart, the preeminent portraitist of the period following the American Revolutionary War, managed to capture the figurative reproduction of over 1000 individuals during his lengthy career. His renowned image of George Washington, The Athenaeum, has appeared on the iconic dollar bill and his portraits of the first six Presidents of the United States are moving and stirring evocations of power and humility. His portrait of Thomas Jefferson, painted between 1805-07, is the second figurative reproduction of the third President of the United States, the first made in Philadelphia a year before his election. Charging one hundred dollars for the privilege, Stuart was an artist in high-demand. Yet, unsatisfied with the original Stuart asked Jefferson to sit again, retaining the second version for a short time to have an engraving pressed. Enjoying the dividends accumulated by the pressing of reproductions, portraits were notoriously difficult to prise from Stuart's studio once retained. In the end, some sixteen years later, Jefferson managed to obtain the 1807 portrait after Stuart's astonishing claim that he painted the work for his own possession and was not on commission to Jefferson. A personal letter from the former President soon jogged the artist's memory.
Clearly the enduring magic of this majestic portrait, wherein the embryonic potential of the United States gestated, captivated the artist himself. At the time of sitting for the second portrait, Jefferson had just been re-elected for a second term, his popularity swiftly declining following the tumultuous escalations in the Napoleonic Wars. Without doubt a memory of triumph over adversity, Thomas Jefferson is one of Stuart's crowning achievements. So much so that, after Jefferson finally persuaded the artist to return the original portrait and not a reproduction, Jefferson's daughter upon delivery in 1821 noticed a suspicious freshness in the paint.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Thomas Jefferson 1805-07, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Thomas Jefferson 1805-07 that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.