spacer Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich

Nelson Aldrich rose from service in the Civil War and partnership in a wholesale grocery business to become one of Rhode Island's foremost financiers and the premier spokesman of Old Guard politics during the McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft administrations. Aldrich believed that what was good for big business was good for the nation. He served in the Senate for thirty years, lobbying for banking reform and paving the way for the creation of the Federal Reserve System, which regulates America's monetary system to this day.

Painter, etcher, and sculptor Anders Zorn first came to America as the Swedish commissioner to the World's Columbian Exposition. Extremely personable, Zorn was soon initiated into the inner circles of America's elite. Three Presidents Taft, Roosevelt, and Cleveland were among the important statesmen he painted during his seven visits to the United States. "Of all the sitters I ever had," Zorn confessed, "Senator Aldrich is the most difficult because of the expression of his eyes it is so hard to get." This may have been why Zorn's first attempt at creating the senator's likeness in 1911 was rejected by his family. This painting, begun in Paris the following year, was more successful.

Anders Leonard Zorn (1860-1920)
Oil on canvas, 1913
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Gift of Stephanie Edgell, in memory of Elsie Aldrich Campbell

Enlarged image

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