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Man with a Pen

A work made of oil on yellow poplar panel.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on yellow poplar panel.




Jonas Welch Holman
American, 1805–1873

About this artwork

Jonas Holman worked as a portrait painter, writer, doctor, and preacher, supporting himself through these vocations as he traveled among Baptist congregations. By 1827 he had made his way to Philadelphia where he painted seven known portraits, among them Woman with a Book and Man with a Pen. In these works Holman substituted a brilliant, tasseled curtain for a plain background. He showed his sitters in painted “fancy” chairs, with broad, Greek Revival crest rails, similar to painted furniture made in Philadelphia or Baltimore. Like Ammi Phillips, Holman used props that pointed to the sitters’ erudition; he also concentrated on the details of his sitters’ costumes, showing women with rings and earrings and men with stickpins fastened to cravats.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Jonas Welch Holman


Man with a Pen


Philadelphia (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1827–1830


Oil on yellow poplar panel


70.8 × 54.6 cm (27 7/8 × 21 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Robert Allerton

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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