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Inscription

falsely signed and dated, lower left on ledge: Jn.Smibert.fecit.1746

Provenance

(Rose M. [Mrs. Augustus] de Forest, New York); sold 2 July 1924 to Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York, as a portrait of Susannah de Lancey, Lady Warren, by John Smibert;[1] sold by Clarke's executors to (M. Knoedler & Co.), New York, from whom it was purchased 29 January 1936, as part of the Clarke collection, by The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust; gift to NGA, 1947.

Exhibition History
1925
A Loan Exhibition of the Earliest Known Portraits of Americans Painted in This Country by Painters of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, The Century Association, New York, 1925, no. 4, as Susannah DeLancey Warren by John Smibert.
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 Susannah De Lancey Warren by John Smibert.
Bibliography
1932
Sherman, Frederic Fairchild. Early American Painting. New York and London, 1932: 20.
1950
Foote, Henry Wilder. John Smibert. Cambridge, Mass., 1950: 246.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 144, repro., as by Unknown American.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 289, repro., as by Unknown American.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 436.
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: 318-320, repro. 319.
Technical Summary

The medium-weight canvas is plain woven; it has been lined. The ground is a light warm brown, thinly applied. The painting is executed very thinly, blended wet into wet, without impasto. The "signature" lies on top of a thin layer of varnish, and is easily soluble.[1] There are three horizontal tears, across the chest, below the chin, and above the head on the left side of the painting. The paint surface is extensively abraded except in the head, which was painted more thickly; there is minimal retouching in the head but elsewhere there are carelessly applied retouchings throughout. The thick natural resin varnish has discolored yellow to a significant degree.

[1] Report of chemical test by Francis Sullivan, resident restorer at the National Gallery (Dorinda Evans, note, 12 March 1968, in NGA curatorial files).