Anson Dickinson (American, 1779–1852)
Watercolor on ivory
4 1/8 x 3 1/4 in. (10.5 x 8.3 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1938 (38.41)
Dickinson began his painting career in New Haven and in 1804 moved to New York, which would remain his home base during a somewhat peripatetic career. Edward Livingston (17641836) sat for Dickinson on February 3, 1827, in Washington, D.C., as is recorded in the artist's daybook. The youngest of Robert R. Livingston and Margaret Beekman's nine children, Edward is often referred to as "the jurist" to distinguish him from others of the same name in his extended and prolific family. The sobriquet also recalls Livingston's great skill and intellect as a lawyer, despite rough times in his political career. Livingston's joint term as U.S. District Attorney for New York and mayor (18014) ended in scandal; he began again, although encumbered with debt and charges against him, in New Orleans. By the time he sat for this portrait, he had been redeemed as a close friend of President Andrew Jackson and a Louisiana state senator. Though in self-exile from New York, Livingston remained in close contact with the city his entire life.