Gilbert Stuart (American, North Kingston, Rhode Island 1755–1828 Boston, Massachusetts)
Oil on canvas
50 3/4 x 39 3/4 in. (128.9 x 101 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1907
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 755
A minor Spanish official who had set his sights on becoming a permanent envoy to the United States, Josef de Jáudenes y Nebot (1764–before 1819) wooed and married the daughter of a commanding figure in Spanish-American trade relations, the Boston merchant John “Don Juan” Stoughton. Jáudenes commissioned a pair of portraits to proclaim the union, and Stuart seized the opportunity to demonstrate his talents for a patron who required that the trappings of ceremony and wealth be on full display. With a degree of technical skill still unknown among the artists trained in America, he painted elaborate portraits, privileging iconography over revelation of character.
Inscription: [by a later hand, at lower right]: G. Stuart R.A. New York, Sept. 8, 1794; [by a later hand below coat of arms at upper right] Don Josef de Jaudenes y Nebot / Comisario Ordenador de los / Reales Exercitos y Ministro Em / biado de Su Magestad Catholi / ca cerca de los Estados Uindos / de America. / Nacio en la Ciudad de Valen- / cia Reyno / de Espana el 25, de / Marso de 1764
the sitter, Philadelphia and Palma, Majorca, 1794–before 1819; the Jaudenes family, Spain, until 1907; acquired in Barcelona by Trotti and Company, Paris, February, 1907; with M. Knoedler and Company, New York