JOHN GADSBY CHAPMAN (AMERICAN, 1808-1890) GENRE SKETCH, ink on paper, an intriguing interior scene, possibly for an illustration, featuring a man seated in a chair reading and holding a sword while a dog cowers behind. Monogrammed lower left. Matted under glass in a modern frame. Third quarter 19th century. 3 1/2" x 3 3/4" sight, 9 1/2" x 9 1/2" OA. Provenance: From an Alexandria, VA private collection. Catalogue Note: John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1890) was an important 19th-century artist best known for his monumental oil on canvas (12' x 18'), "The Baptism of Pocahontas" (1842), a work commissioned by the U.S. Government and displayed in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building. Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Chapman began his artistic training with George Cooke and Charles Bird King in Washington, D.C. before venturing to Italy, where he studied in Rome and Florence from 1827 to 1831. Back in the United States and with the completion of his work for the U.S. Capitol, Chapman had achieved tremendous success, and his abilities were frequently called upon for a variety of commissions. Nonetheless, in 1848 Chapman and his family left for Italy, where they were to remain for nearly three decades. The artist worked steadily during this period, producing landscape and genre scenes, often executed for tourists, and frequently sent paintings back to the United States for exhibition. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, however, demand for Chapman's work dissipated in Europe, and he was forced to return to the United States in 1877. Unable to continue his career back in America, John Gadsby Chapman died in poverty and relative obscurity in 1890. His sons, Conrad Wise Chapman (1842-1910) and John Linton Chapman (1839-1905), were successful painters as well, both of whom learned from their father and began their careers in Italy.
The present example may well be a preparatory sketch for one of Chapman's illustrations and demonstrates the artist's keen eye for narrative detail.
Very good condition overall with minor areas of toning at edges. Not examined out of frame.