"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Benjamin Harrison

This 1900 portrait of Benjamin Harrison by Theodore C. Steele hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"Much like his presidential grandfather William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison did not owe his White House nomination of 1888 to lustrous performances in lesser political offices. Rather, he was a safe, clean, and loyal member of the Republican Party.

Known as the 'iceberg,' Harrison was unusually, detached from the normal hurly-burly of politics, and in domestic matters his presidential style was essentially passive. As a result, he took little part in shaping the major congressional measures of his administration, including the landmark Sherman Antitrust Act. In foreign policy, however, Harrison exercised more influence, and his enthusiasm for a stronger American posture in the international arena foreshadowed this country's emergence as a world power after 1900.

Harrison's portraitist, Theodore Steele, was an Indiana painter best known for his impressionistic landscapes. One of four Harrison likenesses done by Steele, this version belonged to the Harrison family for many years." -- National Portrait Gallery
 T C Steele.

The National Portrait Gallery also owns this folk portrait of the twenty third President.

 Benjamin Harrison
"This crudely carved portrayal of Benjamin Harrison is a memento from his 1888 presidential campaign. One noteworthy aspect of the contest was the quantity of funds raised to promote Harrison's candidacy. Built up largely through donations from eastern businessmen who supported Harrison's call for a high protective tariff, his presidential war chest contained in excess of three million dollars. By modern standards, that figure seems almost paltry, but in the late nineteenth century it was an extraordinary sum of money." -- National Portrait Gallery

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