John Singer Sargent, 12 Jan 1856 - 15 Apr 1925
Henry Cabot Lodge, 12 May 1850 - 9 Nov 1924
Oil on canvas
Sight: 127 x 84.5cm (50 x 33 1/4")
Frame: 168.9 x 120.7 x 7.6cm (66 1/2 x 47 1/2 x 3")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Honorable Henry Cabot Lodge
Restrictions & Rights
Henry Cabot Lodge exuded the confidence and haughtiness that his New England ancestry, wealth, and influence bestowed. He became a powerful senator and one of the Republican Party's most respected, if not loved, leaders. Lodge joined his close friend Theodore Roosevelt in calling for the United States to increase its navy and assume a larger role in world affairs. When war broke out in Europe in 1914, he supported American neutrality but believed that Germany was the aggressor. Concerned that U.S. security would be endangered by a German victory, he became increasingly angry with President Woodrow Wilson for not strengthening America's armed forces. Lodge successfully spearheaded the Senate's rejection of the Treaty of Versailles over the issue of the League of Nations. While he did not object to an international organization, he viewed the league as a threat to American sovereignty.
Lodge began his career in Congress in 1887, armed with all the confidence that his distinguished New England ancestry, Harvard education, and wide circle of influential friends could bestow. A power in the Senate and in the Republican Party, he was noted for his scorn of the alliance between big business and corrupt politicians. Close friends with Theodore Roosevelt, he shared the President’s desire to see the United States play a larger role in world affairs. Ironically, however, Lodge is best remembered for spearheading Senate blockage of American membership in the League of Nations on the grounds that its covenant threatened American sovereignty. Thus, this man who had prepared his country for international leadership ultimately came to be regarded as an isolationist.
John Singer Sargent was born in Florence to parents who had left Philadelphia to live in Europe. Like his parents, Sargent remained a devoted expatriate, although in later life, he returned to the United States frequently. Sargent, who came from the same aristocratic world as his sitter, met Lodge during his second trip to America, while visiting his friend Charles Fairchild at Nahant, a summer colony just north of Boston.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Beverly, Mass., grandson of sitter; gift 1967 to NPG.