Portrait of African American Servant for the White House

Formal portrait of a young man came in that was unfortunately done by an unknown artist; however, the reverse side of the linen did offer one clue. There was a company stamp for Sussman and Company which was a New York City business that existed for only a short period of time in the late 1800’s. Unfortunately, this was not enough information to discover the artist’s name, but the artist’s ability is very evident, especially once a tear was mended, a splatter absolved, and craquelures filled-in, smoothed-out, and in-painted. The restoration made the technical ability of the artist more pronounced, especially the wonderful quality captured in the young man’s gaze, that of tenderness and confidence. As evidenced by the expressive painterly brush, this portrait was done in the American Impressionist style of Whistler and William Merritt Chase.


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