Art/ Collection/ Art Object

John C. Calhoun

Savinien Edme Dubourjal (1795–1865)
Made in France
Watercolor, lead-white gouache, and gum arabic on Bristol board
6 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (16.5 x 11.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Vincenzo Botta, 1895
Accession Number:
Not on view
At the time he sat for this portrait, Calhoun, one of the preeminent American statesmen of the nineteenth century, was serving as United States Senator from South Carolina. Dubourjal does not idealize his portrait, but emphasizes the striking features of Calhoun’s visage: his piercing, deep-set eyes, high brow, thin lips, and hollow cheeks. The delicate cross-hatching on the face and in the background contrasts with the full, sinuous lines in the hair. Color is used sparingly, only in the face, and there are touches of white gouache on the eyes, collar, and shirt. The drawing may have been acquired by author and poet Anne Charlotte Lynch shortly after its completion; it was exhibited at the National Academy of Design, New York, in 1847, together with a miniature portrait of her by Dubourjal (95.2.3).
Inscription: [at lower right in graphite]: J. C. Calhoun -/ painted at Washington/ in 1846, by Dub [signature with flourish]
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