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Dolley Payne Madison


Title: Dolley Payne Madison
Artist: Stuart, Gilbert   
Date of Work: 1804
Medium/Support: oil on canvas
Measurements: 29 3/16 x 24 1/8 in (74.1 x 61.3 cm)
Inscribed: No
Acquisition Information: Gift of the Walter H. & Phyllis J. Shorenstein Foundation in memory of Phyllis J. Shorenstein
Acquisition Number: 994.1737.1
Credit Line: The White House Historical Association (White House Collection)
Scholar's Notes:

"At the time that the Madisons sat for their portraits, James Madison was secretary of state for Thomas Jefferson's cabinet. . . . [When] Jefferson, a widower, needed a hostess for many White House gatherings, Dolley Madison often gladly served in that capacity. The portrait that now graces the White House is thus of an acting first lady who would officially fill the role five years later. . . . "Dolley Madison's pose, her torso turned three-quarters to her right, her face and gaze turned back toward the viewer, complements the pose of her husband as he turns slightly toward her. One should not forget this intended balance when viewing such companion portraits separately. . . . ". . . She is dressed in the French fashion . . . . [T]he gold chain wound around the neck . . . is delicately drawn with the brush and highlighted with tiny dabs of paint, and the yellow-gold shawl . . . is conjured up with a . . . calligraphy of brushstrokes. The warm reds and golds of the accessories are the perfect foil for the white dress and . . . ivory flesh tones and black hair and unite with her rouged cheeks . . . . " . . . The portrait survived the burning of the White House in August 1814 because it and its pendant of James Madison were at Montpelier, the Madison homestead in Virginia."

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: 78
People: Madison, Dolley   
Categories: White House Art Collection, Images of First Ladies  
Type: portraits   
whitehousehistory.org:

A brief biography of First Lady Dolley Madison.

Orientation: Portrait
Image ID: 86
Date (chronological sort): 1804