Stephen Hopkins (1701-1785), c. 1870-73
Ink and watercolor on paper, 8 5/8 x 5 3/8 inches
Inscribed in ink at upper left: “8. George Clinton–New York”
Inscribed in ink at lower left: “habit et gilet maron. culotte et bas/noirs.” (Translation: “jacket and vest brown. trousers and stockings/black.”)
Inscribed in pencil at lower right: “Armand Dumaresq”
Inscribed in pencil on former mat verso: “original watercolor [sic] painting for which these are sketches is in the White House, Washington” [See William Kloss et al., Art in the White House: A Nation’s Pride (Washington, D.C.: White House Historical Association, 1992), p. 295]
Reference: John Maass, “The Declarations of Independence,” Antiques (July 1976), pp. 106-10
Note: while identified in the composition as George Clinton, this is a misidentificiation based on a print source and actually represents Stephen Hopkins of New York.
Charles Édouard Armand-Dumaresq, a student of the well-known French painter and teacher Thomas Couture (1815-1879), became interested in painting subjects from American history while on a mission to the United States, where the French minister of education had sent him in 1870 to study American methods of higher education in art. While in Washington, D.C., Armand-Dumaresq would certainly have seen John Trumbull’s (1756-1843) 12-by-18-foot Declaration of Independence (1818-24) in the rotunda of the Capitol. Trumbull began his first version of the subject in Paris in 1786. He worked on it for about ten years, painting thirty-six of the forty-eight portraits from life. That Armand-Dumaresq derived his likenesses from Trumbull’s is shown by the numbers preceding the sitters’ names inscribed on the drawings. The number “8” identifies George Clinton in a printed key to an 1823 engraving after the painting by Asher B. Durand (1796-1886). Although this key was almost certainly based on one drawn by Trumbull in 1817 and two additional versions of it were printed during Trumbull’s lifetime, Clinton’s name is apparently a misidentification; the portrait actually represents Stephen Hopkins of New York.1
Armand-Dumaresq rearranged Trumbull’s figures into his own composition to create his first Declaration of Independence in 1873 (location unknown). He exhibited it at the Salon in Paris in 1873 and at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. A replica by the artist and a drawing are in the collection of the White House in Washington, D.C., and a smaller oil remains in the collection of the artist’s family in France.
- See Irma B. Jaffe, John Trumbull: Patriot-Artist of the American Revolution (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1975), pp. 108-17.
About the Artist
Charles Edouard Armand-Dumaresq, a student of the well-known French painter and teacher Thomas Couture (1815-1879), became interested in painting subjects from American history while on a mission to the United States, where the French minister of education had sent him in 1870 to study American methods of higher education in art.