File:Nathaniel Hawthorne by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze.png

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English: Nathaniel Hawthorne


   Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, 24 May 1816 - 18 Jul 1868


   Nathaniel Hawthorne, 4 Jul 1804 - 19 May 1864






   Oil on canvas


   Stretcher: 75.9 x 64.1 x 2.5cm (29 7/8 x 25 1/4 x 1")
   Frame: 101.6 x 91.8 x 10.2cm (40 x 36 1/8 x 4")

Credit Line

   National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the National Gallery of Art; gift of the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, 1942

Object number


Exhibition Label

   One of the enduring myths of America is that it has no history but exists in the liberating freedom of the present moment. Nathaniel Hawthorne's novels, fables, and "tales" were a cautionary lesson to Americans who ignored the past. (Hawthorne knew the more optimistic writers represented in this room but was friends with none of them.) His writings secularized the harsh Puritan worldview of his Salem birthplace to remind Americans that actions had consequences, both for individuals and communities. His novels turn on the clash of the individual will-from the lovers in The Scarlet Letter (1850) to the naive philanthropist of The Blithedale Romance (1852)-against the implacability of society and nature. Hawthorne's sympathies are often with his rebels, but his philosophy requires their defeat. It was perhaps the irreconcilability of these viewpoints that led to his artistic decline in the 1850s.

Data Source

   National Portrait Gallery

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   National Portrait Gallery Collection 


   American Origins 

On View

NPG, East Gallery 132
Source National Gallery of Art
Author Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, 24 May 1816 - 18 Jul 1868


Public domain

This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or fewer.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1925.


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