About This Artwork

Cosmo Alexander
American, born Scotland, 1724–1772

Alexander Grant, 1770

Oil on canvas
127.7 × 101.6 cm (50 1/4 × 40 in.)
Signed lower right on base of column: "Alexr p(?) A D 1770"

(the "r" in the inscription is superscript)

Letter in his hand reads: "To Alexander Gra[n]t / Late of Jamai[ca]"

Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund, 1977.2

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Stonington, Conn., Stonington Village Improvement Society, Exhibition of Early American Portraits, Aug. 20-?, 1925, cat. 4.

Newport, Rhode Island, Art Association of Newport, Retrospective Exhibition of the Work of Artists Identified with Newport, Rhode Island Tercentenary, July 25-Aug.16, 1936, p. 10, cat. 11.

Publication History

William Dunlap, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States (1834; repr. Boston: C.E. Goodspeed and Company, 1918), vol. 1, pp. 197-99, 202.

Lawrence Park, Gilbert Stuart, An Illustrated Descriptive List of his Works (William Edwin Rudge, 1926), vol. 1, pp. 25, 357.

James Thomas Flexner, America’s Old Masters (Viking Press, 1939), pp. 259-61.

Virgil Barker, American Painting (Macmillan, 1950), p. 117.

Gavin Maitland Goodfellow, “Cosmo Alexander, The Art, Life, and Times of Cosmo Alexander (1724-1772), Portrait Painter in Scotland and America" (M.A. diss., University of Edinburgh, 1955, submitted 1961), p. 157, pl. 19, cat. no. 55.

Gavin Maitland Goodfellow, “Cosmo Alexander in America,” Art Quarterly (Autumn 1963), pp. 309-20, p. 312, fig. 5.

Pam McLellan Geddy, “Cosmo Alexander’s Travels and Patrons in America," Magazine Antiques 112 (Nov. 1977), pp. 972-77.

Milo M. Naeve, The Classical Presence in American Art (Art Institute of Chicago, 1978), p. 15, cat. 18.

Milo M. Naeve, “Cosmo Alexander’s Portrait of Alexander Grant,” Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago 72 (Jan./Feb. 1978), pp. 8-10, ill. p. 9.

Judith A. Barter et al., American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Art Institute of Chicago, 1998) pp. 71-75, no. 18.

Ownership History

David Cheseborough, Newport, Rhode Island, and Stonington, Conn., 1754; by descent to Abigail Cheseborough, Newport, Rhode Island, from 1782 or by descent to Elizabeth Grant Smith, Groton, Conn., from 1782; by descent to Deacon David Cheseborough Smith, Stonington, Conn., from 1808; by descent to Betsey Smith Williams, Stonington, Conn., from 1833; by descent to Bessie S. Williams Sherman, Chicago, from 1860 to 1916; Vose Galleries, Boston, 1977; The Art Institute of Chicago, 1977.

Interpretive Resources

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