William T. Trego: Catalogue Raisonne

Portrait of Jonathan K. Trego, 1893

Courtesy of the Mercer Museum/Bucks County Historical Society

Vital Statistics

Oil on canvas, 45 x 34 inches
Signed and dated lr: “Wm. T. Trego 1893”
Bucks County Historical Society, Mercer Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Commentary

William 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.

Provenance

The 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.

Exhibitions

Philadelphia, 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."

Reproductions

Helen 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)


Condition

The portrait arrived at the Mercer Museum in poor condition and received extensive conservation work in 1975 from conservator Joseph Amarotico of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. (Letter of Joseph Amarotico to Gary D. Shuman, Executive Director, BCHS, 20 October 1975, Mercer Museum files) The painting is now in excellent condition.



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James A. Michener Art Museum William T. Trego Catalogue Raisonne