Charles Willson Peale American, 1741-1827 Portrait of Andrew Caldwell; Together with an American School 18th Century Portrait
Portrait of Andrew Caldwell
Oil on canvas
30 1/4 x 25 1/4 inches
Together with American School
Portrait of Mrs. Andrew Caldwell
Oil on canvas
30 1/8 x 25 1/4 inches
Descended in the family of the sitters
Mrs. Vinton Freedly, New York
Thence by descent to the present owner
Charles Coleman Sellers, Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale, 1952, p. 46, no. 102, illus. p. 315, fig. 192.
Charles Willson Peale's diary entry for July 25, 1788, documents that he "Went to Mr. Michels [Mitchells] to inquire when I should make the alterations in the portrait of Mr. Caldwell." [As quoted in Charles Coleman Sellers, Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale, 1952, p. 46] This portrait of Andrew Caldwell, a Philadelphia merchant, is thought to be the portrait to which Peale refers. The costume is consistent with a date of execution in the 1780s.
Although the charming companion portrait has traditionally been identified as Mrs. Caldwell, the identity of the eighteenth century artist who painted her is unknown. While family tradition holds that this, too, was painted by Charles Willson Peale, stylistically, the portrait is not consistent with his work. The sitter's costume is also more characteristic of fashionable attire in the 1770s than of the late 1780s, when Peale painted Mr. Caldwell, suggesting that this portrait may have been painted earlier than that of Andrew Caldwell.
Additional Notes & Condition Report
Mr. Caldwell: Characteristic use of fugitive pigments by the artist have resulted in a loss of color in the face. Dense old varnish layer turning opaque makes it difficult to detect earlier restoration under UV exam. 1 1/2 oval patch at left edge, center. Possible repaired tear at sitter's left shoulder. Three repairs, each approximately 1 x 1/2 inch, near lower edge in area of brown coat; scattered inpaint, also visible at edges. Lined onto linen; new expansion stretchers. Original tacking edges removed in earlier 19th century restoration. Moderate craquelure throughout.
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