The Portraits

Staff member working in collections and putting a painting away

John Adams

Artist
John Trumbull, 6 Jun 1756 - 10 Nov 1843
Former attribution
Gilbert Stuart, 3 Dec 1755 - 9 Jul 1828
Sitter
John Adams, 30 Oct 1735 - 4 Jul 1826
Date
1793
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 65.1 × 54.9 × 2.5cm (25 5/8 × 21 5/8 × 1")
Frame: 78.7 x 69.2 x 6cm (31 x 27 1/4 x 2 3/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.75.52
Exhibition Label
Second president, 1797–1801
Of all the Founding Fathers, John Adams was perhaps the most intellectual and accomplished. He helped craft the argument supporting the independence of the Continental Congress and later served on the diplomatic mission that ended the Revolutionary War. When George Washington chose him as his vice president, Adams complained that his lack of official duties meant that he occupied “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived.” Nevertheless, he used the position as his ticket to the presidency and was elected in 1796 after a bitter campaign against Thomas Jefferson. During Adams’s single term as president, political posturing and bickering inhibited him at home, and France’s interference with American commerce created a challenge for him abroad. Adams managed to keep the nation at peace, but he left the White House largely discredited on all sides.When Adams was vice president, he had portraits done by the artist John Trumbull, who based this painting on one of those original portraits. Trumbull incorporated the likeness into his depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence that is on display in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
2o presidente, 1797–1801
De todos los Padres Fundadores de Estados Unidos, John Adams fue quizás el más culto e intelectual. Ayudó a formular los argumentos en pro de la independencia del Congreso Continental y luego formó parte de la misión diplomática que puso fin a la Guerra de Independencia. Cuando George Washington lo escogió como vicepresidente, Adams se quejó de que la falta de deberes oficiales hacía de este “el cargo más insignificante jamás concebido por el hombre”. No obstante, utilizó el puesto como vía hacia la presidencia, resultando electo en 1796 luego de una campaña encarnizada contra Thomas Jefferson. Durante el único término de Adams como presidente, las polémicas y posturas políticas adversas restringieron su labor en el ámbito nacional, y la interferencia de Francia en el comercio estadounidense le creó dificultades en el extranjero. Adams logró evitar conflictos bélicos, pero al finalizar su paso por la Casa Blanca estaba bastante desacreditado en la opinión de todos. Durante sus años como vicepresidente, Adams encargó varios retratos al artista John Trumbull, quien realizó esta pintura basándose en una de aquellas obras originales. Trumbull incorporó esta imagen en su pintura de la firma de la Declaración de Independencia que se encuentra en la rotunda del capitolio de Estados Unidos.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
America's Presidents (Reinstallation September 2017)
On View
NPG, South Gallery 240
Place
United States\Pennsylvania\Philadelphia\Philadelphia