Skip to main content

Stephen Van Rensselaer III

Artist
John Wesley Jarvis, 1780 - 14 Jan 1840
Sitter
Stephen Van Rensselaer III, 1 Nov 1764 - 26 Jan 1839
Date
c. 1825-1835
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 76.2 × 63.5cm (30 × 25")
Frame: 98.7 × 85.9 × 10.2cm (38 7/8 × 33 13/16 × 4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.2015.100
Exhibition Label
A scion to one of New York’s richest families, Stephen Van Rensselaer was the eighth and last patroon of a vast estate between Rensselaer and Albany counties in upstate New York. At age twenty-one he inherited 1,200 square miles of land that he filled with tenant farmers, replicating a Dutch feudal pattern of land-ownership that his tenants challenged.
Van Rensselaer spent most of his career in politics, serving as lieutenant governor of New York from 1795 to 1801. During the War of 1812 he was named commander in chief of the New York militia; his military shortcomings were exposed, however, and his troops were mauled at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Humiliated, he resigned his office. Thereafter he served four congressional terms and helped found Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
John Wesley Jarvis, the painter of this work, was one of the most prominent portraitists in New York during the early nineteenth century.
Heredero de una de las familias más ricas de New York, Stephen van Rensselaer fue el octavo y último terrateniente de una vasta propiedad agrícola entre los condados de Rensselaer y Albany, al norte de New York. A los veintiún años heredó 1,200 millas cuadradas de tierra y procedió a poblarlas de arrendatarios, siguiendo un modelo feudal holandés que sus campesinos repudiaban.
Van Rensselaer hizo carrera principalmente en la política, y fue vicegobernador de New York desde 1795 hasta 1801. Durante la guerra de 1812 fue nombrado comandante en jefe de la milicia de New York, pero su falta de experiencia militar se hizo evidente y sus tropas fueron aniquiladas en la batalla de Queenston Heights. Humillado, renunció a su puesto. A partir de entonces sirvió en cuatro términos congresionales y participó en la fundación del Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute en Troy, New York.
John Wesley Jarvis, creador de esta pintura, fue uno de los retratistas más prominentes de New York a principios del siglo XIX.
Provenance
The subject; his son Stephen Van Rensselaer IV; his brother William Paterson Van Rensselaer; his daughter, Cornelia Paterson Van Rensselaer (Mrs. John Erving); her daughter Justine Bayard Erving; her estate, until 1956; to Eleanor King Ames, Brunswick, Maine; to her daughter, Cornelia Ames Abbot, Concord, MA, until 2012; her estate, 2013; the vendor, (Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc.), New York
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Place
United States\New York