About This Artwork

William Rush
American, 1756–1833

General Andrew Jackson, 1819

50.5 x 47.9 x 22.2 cm (19 7/8 x 18 7/8 x 8 3/4 in.)

Restricted gift of Jamee J. and Marshall Field, the Brooks and Hope B. McCormick Foundation, and the Bessie Bennett, W. G. Field, Ada Turnbull Hertle, Laura T. Magnuson, and Major Acquisitions funds, 1985.251

Andrew Jackson was described by a contemporary as having “an erect military bearing, and a head set with considerable fierté [pride] upon his shoulders. . . . His eye is of a dangerous fixedness; . . . [and] the instant his lips close, a visor of steel would scarcely look more impenetrable.” William Rush rendered a remarkably similar depiction of the general. Demonstrating a blend of naturalism, subtlety, and strength, Rush avoided grandiosity in this terracotta portrait bust of the fifty-two-year-old military hero, who, ten years later, would begin to serve the first of two consecutive terms as president of the United States. The artist’s only concession to idealization was the replacement of the general’s well-known stiff, wiry hair with the soft curls that signify noble qualities in Neoclassical sculpture. Since there is no documentation that Jackson formally posed for Rush, the artist, a prominent resident of Philadelphia, may have observed the general during his three-day visit to the city in 1819. This sculpture achieved critical and commercial success, with one reviewer ranking it as “Rush’s masterpiece.” Hoping to benefit from Jackson’s popularity, Rush followed the European custom of producing plaster replicas of the bust.

— Entry, Essential Guide, 2013, p. 29.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Pennsylvania Academy of the FIne Arts, 1820.

Publication History

Art Institute of Chicago, Annual Report, 1985–86 (Chicago, 1986), pl. 2, p. 8.

Art Institute of Chicago, “William Rush,” Mosaic, November/December 1986, p. 6, ill.

Tom Armstrong, “The New Field-McCormick Galleries in the Art Institute of Chicago,” Magazine Antiques 134, 4 (Oct. 1988), pp. 826, 830, 832, pl. VII.

Marvin D. Schwartz, “The Art Institute’s New Wing,” Antiques and the Arts Weekly, Nov. 4, 1988, pp. 1, 60-62.

Lita Solis-Cohen, “Chicago Shows Off—Tastefully,” Maine Antiques Digest, Dec. 1988, p. 14-B.

Milo M. Naeve, “William Rush’s Terracotta and Plaster Busts of General Andrew Jackson,” American Art Journal 21, 1 (1989), pp. 18, 21–23, fig. 1.

Stuart Klawans, “The Art Institute of Chicago at the Crossroads of America and the World,” Business Week 3180, Oct. 1, 1990, p. 89, ill.

Art Institute of Chicago, Pocketguide to the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, 1983), p. 32, fig. 54.

Susan R. Stein, The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello (Harry N. Abrams, 1993), p. 227, ill.

Ownership History

Louise Lukens, Burlington, N.J., before 1940; given to the Burlington Historical Society, Burlington, N.J., by 1940; Sold, Christie’s, New York, May 31, 1985, lot 15 to Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York; sold to The Art Institute, 1985.

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