American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: John Trumbull, American, 1756–1843

Self-Portrait

ca. 1802

Oil on canvas

29 3/4 × 24 9/16 in. (75.5 × 62.4 cm)
Gift of Marshall H. Clyde, Jr.
1981.129.1

This grand self-portrait of John Trumbull as gentleman, patriot, and artist conveys the sense of accomplishment and purpose that he had gained by middle age. It was painted in London while the artist acted as secretary to John Jay of the Jay Treaty Commission, which had been formed to negotiate a treaty with Great Britain aimed at resolving outstanding issues between the two nations. The sword hilt under Trumbull’s hand and the palette with brushes are emblems of his dual service to America as an officer of the Revolution and as a visual recorder of its major events. From this time on, they would serve as Trumbull’s self-defining attributes.

Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Bibliography: 

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), 1, 218–19, no. 119, ill.

Peter Hawes, A Great Panorama Celebrating Twenty-five Years of American Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 24, ill.

Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, American Painters on Technique: The Colonial Period to 1860 (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), 26, fig. 5.

Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 160, pl. 114.

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.