Thomas Jefferson

image for Thomas Jefferson
Title
The Edgehill Portrait
Exhibition Label
Third president, 1801–1809
Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone notes, by his own instruction, that he authored the Declaration of Independence, founded the University of Virginia, and wrote Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom. But it fails to mention that this philosopher, inventor, and scientist was also president of the United States. During Jefferson’s presidency, the nation acquired the vast wilderness known as the Louisiana Purchase from France, doubling the size of the United States. Consequently, new federal policies were put in place that would eventually force Native Americans from their land through “removal” and genocide.
Though he advocated for slave reform, Jefferson enslaved African Americans, including Sally Hemings, with whom he had several children. Uncomfortable in his role as a slave owner, he designed his plantation home, Monticello, to include dumb waiters and hidden passageways to hide the ugly reality of slavery. Jefferson’s second term was plagued by a disastrous trade embargo he imposed on the British and French, leading him to deem his presidency a best-forgotten “splendid misery.”
3er presidente, 1801–1809
La lápida de Thomas Jefferson indica, a petición suya, que fue autor de la Declaración de Independencia de EE.UU., que fundó la Universidad de Virginia y que redactó el Estatuto de Libertad Religiosa de Virginia. Sin embargo, no menciona que este filósofo, inventor y científico también fue presidente de la nación. Durante su mandato se compró a Francia el vasto territorio de Luisiana, lo cual duplicó el tamaño de Estados Unidos. A raíz de esto, se implantaron nuevas políticas federales que obligarían a los nativos americanos a abandonar sus tierras mediante expulsiones y genocidio. Aunque abogaba por reformas antiesclavistas, Jefferson poseía esclavos afroamericanos, como Sally Hemings, con quien engendró varios hijos. Incómodo por la situación, diseñó su casa solariega,Monticello, con montacargas y pasajes secretos para ocultar la fea realidad de la esclavitud. Su segundo término se vio aquejado por un desastroso embargo comercial a los británicos y franceses, llevándolo a calificar su presidencia como una “espléndida desgracia” que era mejor olvidar.
Provenance
The sitter; his descendants at Edgehill; purchased 1902 Burton Harrison, Scotland, a collateral descendant; purchased 1927 through (Babcock Galleries) by John B. Winant; sold to Percy S. Straus; his son Donald B. Straus, New York; purchased jointly with Monticello in 1982
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; owned jointly with Monticello, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Incorporated, Charlottesville, Virginia; purchase funds provided by the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, the Trustees of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Incorporated, and the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation
Website: www.monticello.org/
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
America's Presidents (Reinstallation September 2017)
On View
NPG, South Gallery 240
1805/1821
Object number
NPG.82.97
Artist
Gilbert Stuart, 3 Dec 1755 - 9 Jul 1828
Sitter
Thomas Jefferson, 13 Apr 1743 - 4 Jul 1826
Topic
Thomas Jefferson: Male
Thomas Jefferson: Law and Law Enforcement\Lawyer
Thomas Jefferson: Politics and Government\Congressman\Continental
Thomas Jefferson: Politics and Government\Statesman\Colonial Statesman\Signer of Declaration
Thomas Jefferson: Politics and Government\Vice-President of US
Thomas Jefferson: Natural Resources\Agriculturist\Farmer
Thomas Jefferson: Visual Arts\Architect
Thomas Jefferson: Politics and Government\President of US
Thomas Jefferson: Politics and Government\Cabinet Member\Secretary of State
Thomas Jefferson: Politics and Government\Diplomat\Minister
Thomas Jefferson: Science and Technology\Inventor
Thomas Jefferson: Politics and Government\US Congressman\Virginia
Thomas Jefferson: Politics and Government\Governor\Virginia
Thomas Jefferson: Education\Founder\University
Portrait
Medium
Oil on mahogany panel
Dimensions
Accurate: 66.4 x 53.3cm (26 1/8 x 21")
Frame: 87 × 73.7 × 11.1cm (34 1/4 × 29 × 4 3/8")
National Portrait Gallery
Type
Painting