Thomas Nast (American (born Germany), Landau 1840–1902 Guayaquil)
Portrait of Joseph Norton Dolph (American, Dolphsburg, New York 1835–1897 Oregon)
Graphite and pen and black ink on scratchboard
sheet: 13 1/2 x 10 1/4 in. (34.3 x 26 cm)
Purchase, Fletcher Fund, 1934
Not on view
Nast’s striking caricature of the United States senator from Oregon probably dates to 1894, the year that Dolph lost his bid for a third term. The image resembles a photograph published in a Congressional directory of 1893, but Nash exaggerated the nose and brows and suggested an outsized personality by giving the long beard and hair a wild energy. As an outspoken defender of principled politicians, the artist was likely sympathetic to his subject, who was a hardworking, well-respected litigator. Nast made this drawing at a time when reliable outlets for his work had grown scarce. After severing his longtime connection to Harper’s Weekly in 1886, he experienced financial difficulties. Scratchboard was used for this drawing, a support that consists of paper covered with a thin layer of clay, a medium that allows the creation of bright highlights.
Signature: "Th: Nast" lower left
Inscription: on mount: "Sen. Dolph Oregon"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.
Nadine Orenstein, Constance C. McPhee Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine Exh. cat.: September 13, 2011 - March 4, 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Haven and London, 2011, Entry by Constance McPhee, cat. no. 146, p. 185, ill.