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Provenance

Frank Bulkeley Smith [1864-1918], Worcester, Massachusetts; (his estate sale, American Art Association, New York, 22-23 April 1920, 2nd day, no. 122, repro., as portrait of Gawen Brown by Copley); purchased by Wm. J. Kain, probably for Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York;[1] sold by Clarke's executors 1935 to (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); purchased January 1936, as part of the Clarke collection, by The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1942 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1922
Portraits Painted in the United States by Early American Artists, The Union League Club, New York, February 1922, no. 12, as Gawen Brown by John Singleton Copley.
1926
A Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Early American Portrait Painters, The Century Association, New York, 1926, no. 4, as Gawen Brown by John Singleton Copley.
1928
Portraits by Early American Artists of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Collected by Thomas B. Clarke, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928-1931, unnumbered and unpaginated catalogue, as Gawen Brown by John Singleton Copley.
1943
American Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1943.
1947
American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1947.
1948
American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1948.
1949
American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1949.
1950
American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1950.
1955
American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1955.
1956
American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1956.
Bibliography
1922
Anon. "Current Comment: Exhibitions." Art in America 10 (1922): 144, repro. 141.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 158, repro., as Portrait of a Man by American (?).
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 307, as Portrait of a Man by Unknown [Formerly Considered American].
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 408, repro., as Portrait of a Man by Unknown Nationality 18th Century.
1992
Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 148-150, repro. 149.
2010
Watson, Chris. "The Gawen Brown Family and 'The Last Apprentice'." Antiquarian Horology (March 2010): 33, 34 fig. 5, 41-42 (Appendix 1).
Technical Summary

The medium-weight canvas is plain woven; it has been lined. The ground is light
gray, thinly applied. The painting is executed thinly in layers of opaque
glazes with some impasto. There is scattered retouching, notably along the
hairline in the right part of the sitter's forehead, in the lower pert of the
waistcoat, and in the upper right quadrant. The natural resin varnish has not
discolored.