Joseph Thayendanegea Brant by Gilbert Stuart sells for $7.5 million
Artistic and/or historical worth to Canada of Gilbert Stuart‘s portrait of Thayendanegea is priceless. If value were a cow the painting would jump over the silvery moon.
The Haudenosaunee’s Mohawk Pine Tree Chief wears a patient expression. Brant’s friend Hugh Percy, who commissioned the portrait, would have known the look. For the Percys patience is a virtue. 225 years after acquiring Joseph Brant’s portrait, the English Percys, dukes of Northumberland, make themselves a tidy bundle.
They sell Stuart’s portrait of Brant to an astute American buyer for $7.5 million. O! Canada! For shame.
byline Randy Boswell
Published: July 25, 2014, 10:41 am.
“It may be the most valuable portrait of a Canadian historical figure that’s ever been produced. And the stunning $7.5-million sale at a British auction earlier this month of an 18th-century depiction of legendary aboriginal leader Joseph Brant is a testament to the Mohawk chief’s pivotal role in Canadian and U.S. history, as well as the sterling reputation of the artist — American painter Gilbert Stuart — who created the striking 1786 image of the man known to his fellow Iroquoians [sic] as Thayendanegea.
“The painting, which had been expected to fetch about $2 million at Sotheby’s July 8 auction of historic art, was finally acquired by an unidentified American collector after bidding among five contenders had soared to nearly four times that amount.
“A Sotheby’s spokesperson declined to say whether any Canadian collectors or museums were among those vying for the artwork.
“ ‘The price achieved owed much to the condition and rarity of the picture, as well as its impeccable provenance, but also to the importance of both the sitter and the artist to the history of North America,’ Julian Gascoigne, a Sotheby’s art specialist, said of the 76-by-61-centimetre oil-on-canvas, which has been in the possession of the same prominent British family — the Percys, dukes of Northumberland — since it was painted more than 225 years ago.
” ‘Here you had one of the most famous and influential Native American figures in early American [sic] history,’ Gascoigne added, ‘painted by the first great, and possibly best-known American portraitist, in one of his most powerful and enigmatic works.’
“The huge price reflects the significant part the Ohio-born Brant played as a British ally during the U.S. War of Independence — in which he fought alongside and befriended Hugh Percy, the second Duke of Northumberland — and his leadership among the Iroquois nations [sic] of New York and Upper Canada. Brant died in what would become Burlington, Ont., in 1807 after securing the nearby Grand River lands that became home to the Six Nations, which today constitutes Canada’s single largest aboriginal community.”
William Berczy (c 1805)
See JOSEPH BRANT—”THE MOST PAINTED INDIAN [sic]”
MILTON W. HAMILTON
New York History
Vol. 39, No. 2 (April 1958), pp. 119-132
(article consists of 17 pages)
Published by: New York State Historical Association
John Francis Rigaud (c 1786-87)
Ezra Ames (1806) New York Historical Association Cooperstown NY