Henry Kirke Brown American
Thomas Cole (1801–1848) enjoyed the patronage of influential New Yorkers, including the merchant Jonathan Sturges, who owned this bust by 1850. After the landscape painter’s untimely death, the city’s cultural elite moved quickly to eulogize him, and this portrait was probably modeled as part of that effort—not during Cole’s lifetime. The work partakes of Brown’s customary blending of a highly realistic likeness with a conventional classicizing drape. The striking resemblance to a daguerreotype of Cole by Mathew B. Brady, then on view at the photographer’s Broadway gallery, may be more than a coincidence, for Brown would have looked to lifetime likenesses of Cole as an aid in modeling his own.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.