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Portrait of David Baldwin

American Art

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Portrait of David Baldwin

Artwork Details


Ralph Earl
American, 1751–1801




Oil on canvas

Accession #



56 3/4 x 61 7/8 inches


On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 3, Gallery 307


Ralph Earl’s portrait of David Baldwin, a prominent Connecticut merchant and civic leader, reveals his desire to be remembered as a wealthy, fashionable, and learned man. From his powdered wig to his buckled shoes, Baldwin appears in full command of his environment, confident of his place in the young American nation.

Earl absorbed British portrait tradition in London, where he lived during the Revolutionary War because of his Loyalist sympathies. Earl returned to America in 1785 to take advantage of the growing market for commissions that followed Independence.


Purchase in honor of Lawrence L. Gellerstedt, Jr., President of the Board of Directors, 1984–1986, with funds from Alfred Austell Thornton in memory of Leila Austell Thornton and Albert Edward Thornton, Sr., and Sarah Miller Venable and William Hoyt Venable, 1985.221