Portrait of Jonathan K. Trego, 1893
Courtesy of the Mercer Museum/Bucks County Historical Society
Vital StatisticsOil on canvas, 45 x 34½ inches
Signed and dated lr: “Wm. T. Trego 1893”
Bucks County Historical Society, Mercer Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
CommentaryWilliam Trego’s portrait of his father, Jonathan K. Trego, is one of his few known surviving portraits and his most impressive. Like the small portrait Jonathan had painted of William in 1891, William’s larger work demonstrates the close personal and professional respect and affection the two artists had for each other. William portrayed his first teacher and mentor in the arts at work, holding his palette and brush, in their newly constructed studio in North Wales in 1893. Jonathan looks intently ahead as though analyzing the subject he is painting. In his dark suit, he almost blends into the even darker background. The painting can be seen in photos taken in the Trego studio in 1893 and in 1901.
ProvenanceThe artist gave it to his sister, Anna Louise Trego Dever in 1901. From Anna Louise it went to an unnamed cousin in 1940. It arrived at the Mercer Museum in 1975.
ExhibitionsPhiladelphia, 1902: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Doylestown, Pennsylvania, James A. Michener Art Museum, June 3-Oct 2, 2011: "So Bravely and So Well: The Life and Art of William T. Trego."
ReproductionsHelen Hartman Gemmill, “The Artist with the Paralyzed Hands,” Antiques (November 1983), p. 997.
Reference“The portrait of your father, which the Management of the Academy is especially glad to have, is hung on the line and looks well.” (Harrison S. Morris to William T. Trego, 4 February 1902, Morris Press Books, PAFA Archives)
Peter Hastings Falk, The Annual
Exhibition Record of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1876–1913, (Madison, CT: Soundview Press, 1989)