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Theodore Roosevelt


Title: Theodore Roosevelt
Artist: Sargent, John Singer    
Date of Work: 1903
Medium/Support: oil on canvas
Measurements: 58 1/8 x 40 in (147.6 x 101.6 cm)
Inscribed: Yes
Inscription Type: signed and dated
Inscription Location: upper right
Inscription Text: John S. Sargent 1903
Acquisition Information: U. S. government purchase
Acquisition Number: 903.1328.1
Credit Line: The White House Historical Association (White House Collection)
Scholar's Notes:

"In Roosevelt's official presidential portrait Sargent seized upon two of the President's most salient characteristics, physical vitality and a self-assurance bordering on arrogance, and he painted a tour de force of nuanced blacks, grays, browns, and creams. . . . "The famous expatriate artist arrived in America in January 1903 and soon received a letter from Roosevelt inviting him to live in the White House during the month of February to work on the portrait. . . . "Together [Sargent and Roosevelt] toured the White House while Sargent looked for proper light and a good pose. . . . As Roosevelt led the way upstairs, so the story goes, he said, 'The trouble with you Sargent, is that you don't know what you want.' 'No,' replied the artist, "the trouble, Mr. President, is that you don't know what a pose means.' Roosevelt turned sharply back, grasped the newel-post and snapped, 'Don't I!' 'Don't move an inch. You've got it now,' responded Sargent. . . . . "Sargent formalized the pose as an official portrait demands, but the highly colored face and hand bring the painting to vivid life. . . . The expression--a near scowl with narrowed eyes focused on the view--and the vigorously modeled head compel attention and respect."

Source of Scholar's Notes: Kloss, William, et al. Art in the White House: A Nation's Pride. Washington, D.C.: The White House Historical Association, 2008.
Page Number(s) in Source: 235
People: Roosevelt, Theodore   
Categories: White House Art Collection, Images of Presidents  
Type: portraits   
whitehousehistory.org:

A brief biography of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Orientation: Portrait
Image ID: 134
Date (chronological sort): 1903