About this artwork
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 terra-cotta 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.
- William Rush
- General Andrew Jackson
- 50.5 × 47.9 × 22.2 cm (19 7/8 × 18 7/8 × 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