Portrait of a Man


John Wesley Jarvis ( American, 1781 - 1840 )

c. 1815–1820
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General Description

This portrait of an unknown gentleman, who is at once flashily self-assured and also slightly awkward, is a characteristic example of the work of John Wesley Jarvis. The swags of drapery and props in the background appear in many of Jarvis’s portraits and are most likely the work of Henry Inman (1801–1846), later a successful genre painter, who was Jarvis’s apprentice between 1814 and 1823.

Besides being the leading portraitist in New York City during the early 19th century, Jarvis also worked throughout the South, traveling as far as New Orleans, then the second-largest (and one of the richest) cities in the new United States.

Excerpt from

Sue Canterbury, DMA label text, 2013

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