This is one of several images of famed orator, lawyer, and statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852) that are attributed to Sarah Goodridge, who was a close friend and possible lover of the sitter. Through her diminutive portrayal of the statesman, she offers us a privileged glimpse of a distinguished yet seemingly more accessible Webster, who was by all accounts larger than life. While allowing the translucent ivory support to glisten through Webster's rosy flesh tones to create luminous highlights, Goodridge used impossibly fine, hair-like strokes and stipples to define the jawline and nose and subtly suggest his reemerging beard. His soulful eyes reveal no individual strokes and thereby no hint of the artist's labors. By contrast, Goodridge shaded the background, as she generally did, with more prominent hatchings that grow lighter and more transparent above the shoulders.
From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art
American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 20-October 2, 2020.
American Works on Paper to 1950: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Friends and Owen Robertson Cheatham Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 22-December 9, 2007.
From Copley to Dove: American Drawings and Watercolors at Dartmouth, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 11-May 25, 1989 (no cat.).
Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 29-May 29, 2005; Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 24-September 11, 2005; National Academy Museum, New York City, New York, October 20-December 31, 2005.
Portraits at Dartmouth, Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Hopkins Center Art Galleries, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, no. 45, March 10-April 16, 1978.
The Godlike Black Dan: A Selection of Portraits from Life in Commemoration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Daniel Webster, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., no. 9, June 4-November 28, 1982.
James Barber and Frederick Voss, The Godlike Black Dan, A Selection of Portraits from Life in Commemoration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Daniel Webster, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982, p. 24-25.
Arthur R. Blumenthal, Portraits at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 1978, p. 52, no. 45.
Barbara J. MacAdam, Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art, Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, 2005, pp. 19, 28, 66, 251-252, ill. p. 67, no. 7.
Edwin Allen Bayley, Class of 1885, Boston (Daniel Webster Collection); given to present collection, 1944.
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