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Bust of John Watts

 John Watts
1830 ca.; this cast by 1906
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
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    John Watts (1749-1836) was a lawyer and a politician from New York City.  He represented New York in the U.S. House.

    Wayne Craven in Sculpture in America, Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1968 & 1984, p. 71 writes:

"One of Hughes' earliest works in America was the portrait of John Watts; the original plaster cast was destroyed by vandalism in 1945, but there is a copy of it by Thomas Coffee in the New-York Historical Society, and a bronze cast (made by Gruet of Paris) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is probably the bust that was listed in the Artists Fund Society catalogue of 1830, under Hughes' name, as "Eminent Member of the New York Bar." There is a naturalism in the details of the leathery old judge instead of an idealization of the features, a characteristic that the sculptor's American patrons found perfectly acceptable. This early bust shows Hughes to be a competent modeler of the human likeness, though it lacks the dramatic romanticism that the painted portraits of Thomas though it lacks the dramatic romanticism that the painted portraits of Thomas Sully or Rembrandt Peale had already begun to assume. Later busts by Hughes do have this quality." 


last update 2/15/2010

For noncommercial use, Copyright David E. Brown 2008-2010

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