SPECIAL ADVISORY: The Yale University Art Gallery is open to the public with free, timed-entry tickets to its permanent-collection galleries from Friday through Sunday. Learn More and Plan Your Visit

American Paintings and Sculpture
PrevNext1 of 6
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 6
Photo Credit: Christopher Gardner
Photo credit: Christopher Gardner
PrevNext3 of 6
Photo Credit: Christopher Gardner
Photo credit: Christopher Gardner
PrevNext4 of 6
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext5 of 6
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext6 of 6
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Unknown
Subject: John Cruger, American, 1710–1791

Mayor John Cruger of New York City (1710–1791)

ca. 1760

Watercolor on ivory

1 × 13/16 in. (2.5 × 2.1 cm)
Gift of Davida Tenenbaum Deutsch and Alvin Deutsch, LL.B. 1958, in honor of Kathleen Luhrs
2006.225.10

This tiny early portrait, set into a bracelet clasp, depicts colonial politician John Cruger wearing a long bob wig, a white neckcloth with shirt ruffle, and a conservative blue velvet suit. Cruger was mayor of New York from 1756 to 1765, a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, and the first president of the New York Chamber of Commerce. The uncertainty of the Revolutionary era marred his political career. Although he was an advocate against the British government during his service in the Provincial Assembly, he remained loyal to the Crown and had close business ties with prominent Tories. In 1776, the Provincial Congress listed Cruger among “suspected persons.” He retired to Kinderhook, New York, before the British occupation of New York City, but he returned in 1783 to live with his patriot nephew.

The portability of miniatures facilitated their exchange between family members on both sides of the conflict. The accomplished stippling technique used in this tiny likeness suggests that it was painted by an artist trained in England. Nonetheless, the miniature was passed down through generations on this side of the Atlantic.

Geography: 
Made in New York, New York
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Miniatures - Jewelry
Provenance: 

Ed Paine; Davida Tenenbaum Deutsch and Alvin Deutsch, LL.B. 1958

Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2006–June 30, 2007,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2007): 191, 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.