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The Café and Courtyard will be closed Sunday, Nov. 17 in preparation for a special event. The museums will close at 5:00 pm, at which point visitors will be directed to exit through the building’s F street lobby. The G street exit and ramp will remain accessible to those who need it. We apologize for any inconvenience.

John Jacob Astor

Artist
John Wesley Jarvis, 1780 - 14 Jan 1840
Sitter
John Jacob Astor, 17 Jul 1763 - 29 Mar 1848
Date
c. 1825
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Other: 76.2 x 61.6cm (30 x 24 1/4")
Frame: 94.6 x 81.9 x 10.2cm (37 1/4 x 32 1/4 x 4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Susan Mary Alsop
Object number
NPG.78.204
Culture
John Jacob Astor: European\German
Exhibition Label
Born Waldorf, Duchy of Baden, Germany
An early herald of the American dream, John Jacob Astor arrived in the United States in 1783, a poor immigrant. He made his first fortune in the fur trade in the Great Lakes region, shipping the furs, particularly beaver, to Europe. In 1811 he sent two expeditions to Oregon and founded the first American settlement on the Pacific coast, Astoria. After the War of 1812 and the British departure from the Northwest Territory, Astor’s American Fur Company established a trading post on Mackinac Island, in present-day Michigan, which became the center of the booming fur trade. Astor increased his fortune in the China trade and in the accumulation of New York real estate, becoming in the 1830s the richest man in America. “It’s all a matter of habit,” he said, “and good habits in America make any man rich.”
Provenance
Susan Mary Alsop, Washington, D.C.; gift 1978 to NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 136