falsely signed, lower right: Edward Truman
(Rose M. [Mrs. Augustus] de Forest, New York); sold 13 August 1930 to Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York, as a portait of Jonathan Sewell by Edward Truman; 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, Pittsburgh; gift to NGA, 1947.
The canvas is plain woven; it was lined in 1924. The paint and ground continue over the tacking edges and are severely broken at the foldovers, indicating that the picture has been reduced in format. The ground is white, fairly thickly applied. There is a warm gray imprimatura, which is used as an intermediate tone in the face. The painting is executed very thinly, in fluid, opaque paint; the handling is very direct, with forms represented by "drawn" lines of fluid paint and modeling constructed with unmodulated additions of paint. The thick, lumpy glue used in lining has caused corner draws, bulges, and buckling throughout. The paint surface has been abraded in the darks and in the background, and much of the left background has been repainted; the lower portion of the mouth and the sitter's right eyebrow, eyebrow fold, and outer corner of the eyeball have been heavily retouched. The thick, natural resin varnish has discolored yellow to a significant degree.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 160, repro., as Portrait of a Man by American (?).
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 309, as Portrait of a Man by Unknown [Formerly Considered American].
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 411, repro., as Portrait of a Man by Unknown Nationality 18th Century.
- Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 298-300, repro. 299.