Gilbert Stuart (American, North Kingston, Rhode Island 1755–1828 Boston, Massachusetts)
Oil on canvas
36 1/16 x 28 1/4 in. (91.6 x 71.8 cm)
Bequest of Helen Shelton Clarkson, 1937
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 753
Like his father before him, Matthew Clarkson was prominent in the political and commercial affairs of New York. He embarked early on a military career, distinguishing himself at the age of nineteen in the Battle of Saratoga. After his retirement from active duty about 1788, he followed the family tradition in his energetic participation in political and civic projects. He was an early advocate of the abolition of slavery. Clarkson sat for Stuart just after the artist's return from Europe. The portrait includes touches of Stuart's breezy aristocratic treatment but is primarily a straightforward depiction of this handsome New Yorker.
the sitter, died 1825; his son, David Clarkson, until 1867; his son, Matthew Clarkson, New York, by 1879; his son, Banyer Clarkson, New York, by 1926; his wife, Helen Shelton Clarkson, died 1937