Franklin and Condorcet: Two Portraits from the American Philosophical Society
August 26, 1997 to November 16, 1997
An exhibition of two remarkable portraits of famous men lent by the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia: an oil on canvas representing Benjamin Franklin painted by Jean-Baptiste Greuze in 1777, and a marble bust of Nicolas de Condorcet executed by Jean-Antoine Houdon in 1785. Also on view was a small group of letters, manuscripts, and eighteenth-century publications relating to the history of the two portraits and the relations between the American statesman and the mathematician, philosopher, and revolutionary.
A small exhibition focused on a pair of pastel portraits by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805) that had recently been acquired by the museum: Baptiste Aîné and Madame Baptiste Aîné. Executed in Paris in the early 1790s, these dramatic images of a famous actor and his wife belong to an impressive series of portraits that Greuze painted and drew during the turbulent years of the French Revolution.