02-27-2016 02-27-2016
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2880B Boston
February 27, 2016 10:00AMCalender

Samuel Jordan (New Hampshire/Massachusetts, 1804-after 1836) Portrait of a Gentleman

Auction: American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2880B Location: Boston Date / Time: February 27, 2016 10:00AM


Samuel Jordan (New Hampshire/Massachusetts, 1804-after 1836)

Portrait of a Gentleman
Signed and dated "S Jordan pinxit/1831" l.c.
Oil on canvas, the subject seen bust-length wearing a yellow vest, his arm draped over an upholstered sofa and holding a book, seated in from of colorful patterned wallpaper with landscape above, 24 x 20 in., in a modern molded veneered frame.
Condition: Relined, retouch.

Provenance: Purchased in the early 20th century by well known modernist painter/set designer Claggett Wilson (1887-1952), and the great-great-uncle of the consignor. According to the consignor, "Claggett was an avid collector of New England art and dear friends with the Guggenheims as well as many other notable people in the [early 20th century]."

Literature: "Samuel Jordan: Artist, Thief, Villain," by Deborah M. Child, in Antiques and Fine Art, Summer 2009, pp. 146-153.

Note: As Deborah Child tells us in her article regarding what is known of Samuel Jordan's life, he was "an all-round scoundrel." In and out of prison (where he actually earned money for painting) for much of the late 1820s and early 1830s, the Medford (Massachusetts) born artist was a talented but seemingly troubled man. He dabbled in counterfeiting (likely perfecting his trade while imprisoned in Charlestown, Child implies), dealt in contraband while incarcerated, and began his third stint in prison in 1834 after being convicted for breaking and entering a home in Acton, Massachusetts. He escaped from prison in 1836, reportedly destined for Texas, and was never heard from again.
Estimate $8,000-12,000

The painting has been lined. There are two repaired tears with associated retouch in the upper left quadrant in the background, an area above the house in the upper right quadrant, spots and lines of inpaint in the subject's hair and face, mostly to address craquelure, and a small area between his upper lip and nose, a vertical line (possibly an old damage) to the right of the signature at left center, along an L-shaped tear in the jacket in the lower right quadrant, and scattered minor spots elsewhere.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Samuel Jordan, Jordan pinxit, Claggett Wilson, Deborah Child, Acton, Charlestown