Help us bring life to art, and art to lives. Make a donation.

Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Tahitian Chief Otore (from McGuire Scrapbook)

Alfred Thomas Agate (1812–1846)
ca. 1839
Graphite on off-white wove paper
8 1/2 x 7 9/16 in. (21.6 x 19.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of James C. McGuire, 1926
Accession Number:
Not on view
Agate executed this portrait probably while he was traveling with the United States South Seas Surveying and Exploring Expedition as an artist and draftsman. The subject, Otore, was a minor Tahitian chief encountered by the party in the South Pacific. The portrait was probably drawn from life in September 1839, when the expedition reached Tahiti, but may have been finished later on board ship. Agate chose a bust-length format for this portrait, relieving the figure with delicate cross-hatching in the background. This was a fairly standard treatment in engraved portraiture; indeed, the inscription on the drawing “for text vignette” confirms that it was intended for illustration, perhaps in Wilkes’s “Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition” (1845); however, the image was never published.
Signature: [at lower left of drawing in graphite]: A T Agate

Inscription: [at top center in brown ink]: No. 2; [at upper right in graphite]: [illeg]; [at lower center in graphite]: Otore [probably in the sitter's hand] / for text vignette
Related Objects

Portrait of a Gentleman

Artist: Alfred Thomas Agate (1812–1846) Date: ca. 1835 Medium: Watercolor on ivory Accession: 1990.20 On view in:Not on view

Miss Bruce

Artist: Alfred Thomas Agate (1812–1846) Date: 1837 Medium: Watercolor on ivory Accession: 2006.235.1 On view in:Not on view

Boys in a Dory

Artist: Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine) Date: 1873 Medium: Watercolor washes and gouache over graphite underdrawing on medium rough textured white wove paper Accession: 2001.608.1 On view in:Gallery 746