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Chester A. Arthur

Artist
Ole Peter Hansen Balling, 13 Apr 1823 - 1 May 1906
Sitter
Chester Alan Arthur, 5 Oct 1829 - 18 Nov 1886
Date
1881
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Frame (Verified): 79.1 x 69.2 x 7.6cm (31 1/8 x 27 1/4 x 3")
Stretcher: 61.3 × 51.1cm (24 1/8 × 20 1/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mrs. Harry Newton Blue; Frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Object number
NPG.67.62
Exhibition Label
Twenty-first president, 1881–1885
When President Garfield was assassinated, he was succeeded by his vice president, Chester Arthur. Largely regarded as a Stalwart, Arthur had previously been a New York City politician who supported the spoils system. In office, Arthur surprised even his harshest critics by continuing his predecessor’s legal battles against corruption in the postal system and the New York Customs Service. Arthur also signed into law the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which required aspiring bureaucrats to complete merit-based examinations. To ensure that this new act would be enforced, he appointed a number of reform-minded administrators. In the words of one of his contemporaries, “no man ever entered the presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted” or left it “more generally respected, alike by political friend and foe.”
21o presidente, 1881–1885
A raíz del asesinato del presidente Garfield, su vicepresidente Chester Arthur asumió la presidencia. Considerado por muchos un Stalwart, Arthur había sido previamente un político neoyorquino quien apoyó el sistema de concesión de favores políticos. Para sorpresa incluso de sus críticos más acérrimos, Arthur continuó las batallas legales de su predecessor contra la corrupción en el sistema de correos y en la Aduana de Nueva York. También firmó la Ley Pendleton de Reforma al Servicio Civil, que requería que los candidatos a burócratas pasaran exámenes basados en mérito. Para garantizar que se cumpliera esta nueva ley, nombró a una serie de administradores partidarios de las reformas. En palabras de uno de sus contemporáneos, “nadie llegó jamás a la presidencia gozando de tan poca confianza” ni la dejó “siendo tan ampliamente respetado, tanto por amigos como por enemigos políticos”.
Provenance
Margaret Garber Blue [Mrs. Harry Newton Blue, 1897-1979], Washington, D.C.; gift 1967 to NPG.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
America's Presidents (Reinstallation September 2017)
On View
NPG, West Gallery 210