John Davison Rockefeller, Sr., 8 Jul 1839 - 23 May 1937
Object: 54.6 x 48.3 x 27.9cm (21 1/2 x 19 x 11")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of the artist, 1965
John D. Rockefeller once remarked, "The only question with wealth is, what do you do with it?" By 1913, Rockefeller, a founder of the Standard Oil Company, had amassed an estimated $900 million, earned from an aggressive reorganization of the oil industry, which granted his company a virtual monopoly and him a tough reputation. An emblem of self-made success, the controversial tycoon rehabilitated his reputation in later years by supporting charitable causes such as medicine, education, and the Baptist Church. Paul Manship's bust reflects the transformation, depicting Rockefeller as a generous benefactor rather than a ruthless industrialist.
Paul Manship [1885-1966]; gift to National Collection of Fine Arts (now Smithsonian American Art Museum) 1965; transferred to NPG 1970