Art/ Collection/ Art Object

John Greenleaf

Artist:
John Singleton Copley (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1738–1815 London)
Date:
1753–54
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
21 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. (54.6 x 45.1 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Stuart and Rhoda Holzer, 2002
Accession Number:
2002.611
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 719
While there has never been any doubt of Copley’s innate talent, these portraits give new meaning to the word “precocious.” At about the age of fifteen, with no formal training and very little opportunity to have studied acclaimed works of art, Copley not only could paint competently but also knew how to serve his patrons best: with accurate but richly embellished likenesses. These handsome siblings (see also 2002.612), offspring of John and Priscilla Brown Greenleaf of Boston, wear just the sort of elaborate, inventive costumes that became the artist’s forte. Copley’s source for John’s exotic cap and pose was a print after Sir Godfrey Kneller’s portrait of Lord Bury as a child.
Dr. John Greenleaf (1717–1778); Mrs. John Greenleaf (nee Priscilla Brown); by descent through the the Appleton-Greenleaf family to Mrs. Odell (nee Edwina Vanberg Peterson);to her daughter, Mrs. John Detlets; Newhouse Galleries, Inc., NY; Mrs. and Mrs. Howard Joynt, Alexandria, Virginia; [sale, Christie's, New York, 1989]; purchased by the donor.
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