Alice Hooper, ca. 1763
Oil on canvas
50 × 40 in. (127 × 101.6 cm)
Purchase, with funds from the Leonard and Bebe LeVine Art Acquisition Fund, the Virginia Booth Vogel Acquisition Fund, with funds in memory of Betty Croasdaile and John E. Julien, and gift by exchange of Chapellier Galleries, the Samuel O. Buckner Collection, and the Max E. Friedmann Bequest M2011.15
Before settling in England in 1775, John Singleton Copley was the most sought-after portraitist in the American colonies: his list of patrons reads like a who’s who of notable Bostonians. He was adept at flattering his sitter’s by depicting their conspicuous wealth, while retaining a true likeness. In this portrait, painted to commemorate the sitter’s recent engagement, Copley suggests Alice Hooper’s fecundity and maternal qualities by situating her against the backdrop of a cultivated garden, her hand caressing the fountain’s trickling water. The artist further devoted great attention to the glinting blue satin and frothy lace of Alice’s fashionable gown and the highlights of her ruby jewels, revealing the great wealth of her family.
Augustus Thorndike Perkins, A Sketch of the Life and a List of Some of the Works of John Singleton Copley (Privately Printed, 1873): 74–5; Frank W. Bayley, The Life and Works of John Singleton Copley, Founded on the Work of Augustus Thorndike Perkins (Boston: The Taylor Press, 1910): 114; Barbara Neville Parker and Ann Bolling Wheeler, John Singleton Copley: American Portraits in Oil, Pastel, and Miniature with Biographical Sketches (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1938): 108–09, plate 35 (illus.); Jean Reeves, “Oil, on Display Here, Reflects Copley’s Painstaking Realism: Portrait Now at Albright-Knox Reveals 18th Century American’s Sense of Color,” Buffalo Evening News, June 20, 1963, illus.; Jules David Prown, John Singleton Copley (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,1966), vol. I: pp. 38, 219, fig. 117; Clement E. Conger, Treasures of State: Fine and Decorative Arts in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the U. S. Department of State (1991): pp. 75, 372 (illus.); Carrie Rebora and Paul Staiti, John Singleton Copley in America, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995): 242; Margaretta M. Lovell, “Mrs. Sargent, Mr. Copley, and the Empirical Eye,” Winterthur Portfolio 33 no. 1 (Spring 1998): 1-39, fig. 19 (illus.); “Important American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture,” sales catalogue, Christie’s New York, 25 May 1996: 122-123, lot 90 (illus.).
Annual Exhibition, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, MA, 1871, no. 211; on extended loan there to c. 1910.
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 1963.
Diplomatic Reception Rooms, United States Department of State, Washington, DC; on extended loan, 1976-2006.
“Masterworks: The Best of HIrschl and Adler,” New York, May 5-July 1, 2011
This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.