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In the Gallery: John Neagle – The Dickson Brothers

Apr

10

AG 1966.32.1- The Dickson Brothers, John Neagle, c.1840.

By Angela Gonzalez,  Curatorial Intern

John Neagle spent most of his time in Philadelphia where he received his artistic training. Alongside his friend and brother-in-law, Thomas Sully (1783-1828), Neagle dominated the art of portraiture in the city. Neagle spent some time in Boston where he studied the work of renowned artist Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). It is evident through Neagle’s art that this stay in Boston had an influence on his compositions, especially portraiture.

Neagle painted a family portrait for his cousin John Dickson. The painting is comprised of Robert, Levi, John Jr., and James Dickson; these are the children of John. Each child is shown with rosy cheeks and prominent dark eyes. The group is situated around a table. Upon the table is a humorous stick drawing of the boy’s parents. Placed on top of the drawing is a pocket watch symbolizing the passage of the boy’s childhood. The children’s favored possessions are placed on the table, including a figurine and a trumpet.

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