Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Hagar and Ishmael

Artist:
Benjamin West (American, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 1738–1820 London)
Date:
1776, reworked 1803
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
76 x 54 1/2 in. (193 x 138.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1923
Accession Number:
95.22.8
Not on view
This painting illustrates the plight of Ishmael after he and his mother have been turned out of Abraham’s household (Genesis 21). West exhibited the picture at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1776. In 1803 he changed both the figures and the background, repainted the angel, added draperies, and submitted the painting for a second exhibition. The Royal Academy ruled that no artist could show a work twice. West, who was the academy’s president from 1792 to 1820, was outraged. The controversy continued until 1806, when West was finally allowed to exhibit the picture.
Signature: [at lower right]: B. West 1776; [at lower left] B. West 1803
Lord Cremorne, from 1776; Private Collection, Ireland, until ca. 1803; the artist, 1803–1820; his sons, Raphael West and Benjamin West Jr., 1820–1829; sale, George Robins, London, 25 May 1829, no. 135; Armstrong, 1829; held by Arthur E.S. Seguin, Philadelphia, by 1851– died1852; held by his wife, Ann Childe Seguin, New York, 1852–died1888; held by her daughter, Maria C. Seguin, New York, 1888–died ?; her nephew's wife, Clara L. (Mrs. Edward S. R.) Seguin, New York, until 1923
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