Nationality & Life Dates:
Portrait of David Baldwin
Oil on canvas
56 3/4 x 61 7/8 inches
Purchase in honor of Lawrence L. Gellerstedt, Jr., President of the Board of Directors, 1984–1986, with funds from Alfred Austell Thornton in memory of Leila Austell Thornton and Albert Edward Thornton, Sr., and Sarah Miller Venable and William Hoyt Venable
On View - Stent Family Wing, Second Level, Gallery 205
The portraitist Ralph Earl absorbed the British portrait tradition in London, where he lived during the Revolutionary War due to his Loyalist sympathies. Earl returned to America in 1785 to take advantage of the growing market for commissions that followed Independence. Settling in the Connecticut River Valley, Earl established himself as a portraitist of the area’s elite. This portrait of the prominent Connecticut merchant and civic leader David Baldwin reveals his desire to be remembered as a wealthy, fashionable, and learned man. From his powdered wig to his buckled shoes, Baldwin appears in full command of his environment, confident of his prominent place in the young American nation.