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Signing of the Peace Protocol Between Spain and the United States, August 12, 1898

Title: Signing of the Peace Protocol Between Spain and the United States, August 12, 1898
Artist: Chartran, Théobald    
Date of Work: 1899
Medium/Support: oil on canvas
Measurements: 62 1/8 x 82 1/16 in (157.8 x 208.4 cm)
Inscribed: Yes
Inscription Type: signed and dated
Inscription Location: lower right
Inscription Text: Chartran 1899.
Acquisition Information: Gift of Henry Clay Frick
Acquisition Number: 903.1537.1
Credit Line: The White House Historical Association (White House Collection)
Scholar's Notes:

"The French government acted on behalf of the Spanish [in the signing of the Peace Protocol between Spain and the United States]; therefore French Ambassador to the United States Jules Cambon is signing the preliminary peace document in Chartran's painting of the event. Immediately behind him stands Eugène Thiébaut, first secretary of the French Embassy. . . . [T]hey are painted with downcast eyes. The five American officials, in contrast, are presented more or less in full face. "His stout figure alone in half the picture, President William McKinley dominates the proceedings. He stands at the end of the Cabinet table that he used habitually as his desk. A letter or file box rests in front of him, a calendar beside it. The room, which served as the Cabinet Room between 1867 and 1902, is on the south, or garden, side of the White House, thus the bucolic landscape seen through the window. The upper sash of the window has been lowered to alleviate the swelter of an August day in Washington before air-conditioning. The columns of the South Portico frame the view. "Photographs of the event confirm many of the details of the room and the participants, but Chartran has moved the signing to the window wall for purposes of illumination. The light enters not only through the visible window but also through the unseen east window, falling upon the side of the President's massive head and on the foreheads of the seated signatories. "The principal U.S. representative is Secretary of State William R. Day, seated. . . . Behind him, from left to right, stand John Bassett Moore, first assistant secretary of state, Alvey A. Adee, second assistant secretary, and Thomas W. Cridler, third assistant secretary. . . . "The photographs reveal that there were as many as 12 persons present, but Chartran has edited them for maximum concentration. . . . ". . . The palette is reserved, although fairly high in tonality. Chartran enlivens the scene through manipulation of light . . . ."

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: 229, 231
Categories: White House Art Collection  
Type: history paintings   
Orientation: Landscape
Image ID: 161
Date (chronological sort): 1899