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Daniel Boone

Artist
Chester Harding, 1 Sep 1792 - 10 Apr 1866
Sitter
Daniel Boone, 11 Feb 1734 - 26 Sep 1820
Date
1820
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on pieced canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 64.1 x 52.1 x 2.5cm (25 1/4 x 20 1/2 x 1")
Frame: 86.4 x 76.2cm (34 x 30")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.2003.1
Exhibition Label
When historian Frederick Jackson Turner formulated his "Frontier Thesis" to explain American history and character, he began the progress of settlement with the "Lone Scout," a harbinger of the civilization to follow. In this image, Turner likely had Daniel Boone in mind. Boone spent his life pushing westward, always dissatisfied with where he was and always moving on; he ended up in Kentucky, opening that area for white settlement. One reason Boone kept moving was that when the government caught up with him on the trail he had blazed, it usually voided his land claims and expelled him. Although the reality of Boone's career did not embody the romantic legends that others applied to it, the persistence of Boone as a symbol indicates how strongly the idea of the lone frontiersman has shaped American consciousness and history.
Provenance
William Harding King, Bend, Ore., descendant of artist; purchased 2003 NPG
Leah Lipton, A Truthful Likeness: Chester Harding and his Portraits [Smithsonian 1985], 56-57, no. 4.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection