Frame: 73.5 x 64.6 x 6.4cm (28 15/16 x 25 7/16 x 2 1/2")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Born Prince William (now Fauquier) County, Virginia
John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the United States, established the concept of judicial review—in which the Supreme Court could pronounce a law of Congress as unconstitutional—and strengthened the idea of an independent federal judiciary. In cases brought to the Court between 1810 and 1824—years in which the Marshall Court enjoyed great stability and harmony—Marshall used the Court’s judicial review to nullify state laws violating constitutional restraints of state power. The effect of Marshall’s long tenure as chief justice (1801–35) was to strengthen the Court, the Constitution, and the federal government. The Court became a preeminent interpreter of the Constitution, and the federal government’s enumerated powers were given a broad interpretation, and made superior to those of the states.
Cephas Thompson painted a portrait of Marshall from life in Richmond, as well as six replicas for admirers, two years after Marshall presided at the trial of Aaron Burr for treason.
O.P. and M. J. Van Sweringen, Daisy Hill Farm, Hunting Valley, Ohio; sold by (Parke-Bernet Galleries) at the Sweringen residence, 27 October 1938, lot 824; Thomas Jones, Cleveland, Ohio; his son Brooks Jones; Mrs. Brooks Jones; (Corcoran Fine Arts, Cleveland); purchased 2010 NPG