Jacob Wendell

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John Smibert (American, b. Scotland, 1688–1751)
Jacob Wendell, 1731
Oil on canvas
48 7/8 × 39 1/2 in. (124.14 × 100.33 cm)
Layton Art Collection Inc., Purchase L1981.151
Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Currently on View

Descended from Dutch merchants, Jacob Wendell expanded the family's interests after settling in Boston, where he gained considerable wealth in the shipping business. The sailing vessels outside the window, along with the writing instruments and letters, reference Wendell’s profession and prosperity. Smibert painted the portrait in a manner similar to the flamboyant portraits that he studied in his native Scotland, and later in Italy. However, the straightforward depiction of the sitter, along with his red velvet frock coat, pewter inkwell, and writing table, follow a familiar format that the artist adopted after settling in America in 1729.

Publication History
Eastberg, John C. and Eric Vogel. Layton’s Legacy: A Historic American Art Collection 1888–2013. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Layton Art Collection, Inc., 2013, pp. 34, 384, 387, 414–17, and 463, color pl. 35, p. 417, color illus. pp. 387, 415, and 416, color detail p. 414.

Saunders, Richard H. John Smibert: Colonial America's First Portrait Painter. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1995, b/w illus. p. 74, fig. 71.

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 66, b/w illus. p. 66.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.