Gilbert Stuart (American, North Kingston, Rhode Island 1755–1828 Boston, Massachusetts)
Oil on canvas
40 1/4 x 32 in. (102.2 x 81.3 cm)
Bequest of Seth Low, 1916
Not on view
The fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, was a Virginian who enjoyed the advantages of being the disciple and political protégé of Thomas Jefferson. Before becoming president, he had held many diplomatic posts, including service as ambassador to France and to England. The year after this picture was completed, he issued the famous Monroe Doctrine, a statement against any intervention from foreign governments in the affairs of the hemisphere. The three-quarter pose at a desk with books and papers, the billowing drapery, and the liberal use of strong, pure red are all elements of a formula that Stuart, like the Spanish Goya, frequently employed in portraits of statesman.
John Doggett, Boston, 1820–1839; Abel Phillips, Boston, by 1839; Honorable Peter A. Porter, Niagara Falls, New York, 1851–1856; A. B. Douglas, Brooklyn, until 1857; Abiel Abbot Low, Brooklyn, 1857–died 1893; his son, Abiel Augustus Low, Brooklyn; his wife, Mrs. A. Augustus Low; sold to brother-in-law, Seth Low, Brooklyn and Bedford Hills, New York, died 1916; his wife, Mrs. Seth Low, subject to a life estate, died 1929