Skip to main content

Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast
Artist
John White Alexander, 7 Oct 1856 - 31 May 1915
Sitter
Thomas Nast, 27 Sep 1840 - 7 Dec 1902
Date
1887
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
101.5cm x 77cm (39 15/16" x 30 5/16"), Accurate
Topic
Equipment\Walking stick\Cane
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Beard
Thomas Nast: Male
Thomas Nast: Visual Arts\Artist\Cartoonist
Thomas Nast: Visual Arts\Artist\Illustrator
Thomas Nast: Politics and Government\Diplomat\Consul\US Consul
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.66.40
Exhibition Label
Born Landau, Germany
Illustrator Thomas Nast offered pointed political and social commentary as the North’s foremost cartoonist during the Civil War and Reconstruction. As a staff artist for Harper’s Weekly, one of the most widely circulated magazines in the United States, from 1862 until 1886, Nast shaped national conversations about many topics. His wartime imagery galvanized support for the Union cause while his Reconstruction-era illustrations promoted increased federal intervention in the South to guarantee the rights of formerly enslaved people. A longtime supporter of the Republican Party, Nast used his considerable platform to criticize President Andrew Johnson’s tolerance toward former Confederates and to support Ulysses S. Grant’s presidential candidacy in 1868.
John White Alexander painted this portrait the year after Nast left Harper’s Weekly. Having worked together at the magazine during the 1870s, the two artists were well acquainted. Alexander portrays his subject staring knowingly at the viewer, evoking Nast’s reputation as a keen observer.
Nacido en Landau, Alemania
Con sus agudos comentarios políticos y sociales, el ilustrador Thomas Nast fue el principal caricaturista del norte durante la Guerra Civil y la Reconstrucción. Entre 1862 y 1886, como artista de plantilla de Harper’s Weekly, una de las revistas de mayor circulación en EE.UU., Nast influenció el diálogo nacional sobre diversidad de temas. Sus imágenes catalizaron el apoyo para la causa de la Unión y, durante la Reconstrucción, promovieron una mayor intervención federal en el sur para garantizar los derechos de las personas antes esclavizadas. Adepto del Partido Republicano, Nast utilizó su plataforma para criticar la tolerancia del presidente Andrew Johnson hacia los antiguos confederados e impulsar la candidatura presidencial de Ulysses S. Grant en 1868.
John White Alexander pintó este retrato al año siguiente de que Nast abandonara Harper’s Weekly. Habiendo trabajado juntos en la revista en la década de 1870, ambos se conocían bien. El modelo dirige una mirada perceptiva al público, con lo cual el pintor evoca su reputación de observador sagaz.
Provenance
(M. Knoedler & Co., New York); purchased 1966 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition
2022 Rehang of Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900
On View
NPG, East Gallery 120