Portrait of an Art Investigation: Lilian III

The art investigation into the life of Lilian dePeyster Post Pulsford Walker clarified why such a lovely portrait was sent to the auction block as a painting by an unknown artist, but had not revealed the artist. I returned to the two original clues. The first clue was an initial and name, probably inscribed by the artist. on the top canvas …

Portrait of an Art Investigation: Lilian II

The painting’s subject, Lilian dePeyster Post Pulsford would have been taught that a lady’s name appears in the newspaper twice:  her wedding announcement and her obituary. But she shattered the rule when details of her Reno divorce appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Two years later, on March 19, 1913,  she made the news again when her quiet marriage to Allen Walker at …

Portrait of an Art Investigation: Lilian I

For the portrait that led to Jeremiah and Daniel Wadsworth and to the previous blog, John Trumbull’s tender side, the investigation began with the painting itself. Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches, the hand of a skillful artist could be seen in the illuminated profile of an intriguing woman. The loose brushstrokes and representative painting style of the artist, the splendiferous hat and …

Stories Behind the Portraits: Eliza Thomas Bingham

George Caleb Bingham’s portrait of his second wife, Eliza Thomas Bingham (1828-1876), went up for auction this fall. I did not mention it publicly because I did not want to be seen as shilling for it. Perhaps I should have. I had no involvement in the sale. Because I believe Bingham portraits have irreplaceable artistic and historic value, I had  …

On the day John Quincy Adams posed for George Caleb Bingham…

John Quincy Adams, 1844, George Caleb Bingham’s  historically most important portrait, is going up for auction on December 6, 2015, at Grogan & Company.  Adams recorded his sittings with two artists who shared a studio in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.:  George Caleb Bingham and John Cranch (1807-1891), Adams’ great-nephew, in his diary for May 23 and May 27, 1844. May 23 was rather uneventful, …

Stories Behind the Portraits: David McClanahan Hickman

After ten years of searching, not long ago I located a “lost” portrait by George Caleb Bingham, Captain David McClanahan Hickman.   John Francis McDermott first noted the existence of the 30 x 25 inch artwork in 1959 in his book, George Caleb Bingham, River Portraitist. McDermott also noted the companion piece of his second wife, Cornelia Ann Bryan (Mrs. David Hickman), and a later Bingham portrait of their daughter Sarah …