Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Artist:
John Wesley Jarvis, 1780 - 14 Jan 1840  Search this
Sitter:
John Jacob Astor, 17 Jul 1763 - 29 Mar 1848  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Other: 76.2 x 61.6cm (30 x 24 1/4")
Frame: 94.6 x 81.9 x 10.2cm (37 1/4 x 32 1/4 x 4")
Type:
Painting
Date:
c. 1825
Exhibition Label:
Born Waldorf, Duchy of Baden, Germany
An early herald of the American dream, John Jacob Astor arrived in the United States in 1783, a poor immigrant. He made his first fortune in the fur trade in the Great Lakes region, shipping the furs, particularly beaver, to Europe. In 1811 he sent two expeditions to Oregon and founded the first American settlement on the Pacific coast, Astoria. After the War of 1812 and the British departure from the Northwest Territory, Astor’s American Fur Company established a trading post on Mackinac Island, in present-day Michigan, which became the center of the booming fur trade. Astor increased his fortune in the China trade and in the accumulation of New York real estate, becoming in the 1830s the richest man in America. “It’s all a matter of habit,” he said, “and good habits in America make any man rich.”
Provenance:
Susan Mary Alsop, Washington, D.C.; gift 1978 to NPG
Topic:
Interior  Search this
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Settee  Search this
John Jacob Astor: Male  Search this
John Jacob Astor: Business and Finance\Businessperson  Search this
John Jacob Astor: Natural Resources\Explorer  Search this
John Jacob Astor: Business and Finance\Businessperson\Merchant\Trader\Fur trader  Search this
John Jacob Astor: Business and Finance\Land developer  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Susan Mary Alsop
Object number:
NPG.78.204
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition:
American Origins
On View:
NPG, East Gallery 136
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.78.204