American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Ralph Earl, American, 1751–1801

Roger Sherman (1721–1793, M.A.[Hon.] 1768)

ca. 1775

Oil on canvas

164.1 x 126 cm (64 5/8 x 49 5/8 in.)
Gift of Roger Sherman White, B.A. 1859, LL.B. 1862
1918.3
Connecticut statesman Roger Sherman here faces down the curious gaze of posterity with an uncompromising stare. Founding Father John Adams called him “one of the soundest and strongest pillars of the Revolution even if his air is the reverse of grace.” A passionate patriot, Sherman was the only man to sign all four of the early nation’s key governmental documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Association, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. Sitting in a Windsor armchair, wearing a simple muslin cravat and an old-fashioned homespun suit, his awkward pose and plain clothing signal his unambiguous rejection of continental elegance and, by extension, European values.
Culture: 
American
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Status: 
On view
Bibliography: 

Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983), 44–45, ill.

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 2, 64, 107, no. 49, ill.

Mark David Hall, Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), n.p., cover ill., ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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