"Old Pat," The Independent Beggar

"Old Pat," The Independent Beggar

c. 1819

Samuel Lovett Waldo

(American, 1783–1861)

Oil on wood

Framed: 68 x 57 x 7 cm (26 3/4 x 22 7/16 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 47.8 x 36.9 cm (18 13/16 x 14 1/2 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1916.998



With this study of a disheveled person—perhaps a man named Patrick MacGregor—the popular society portraitist Samuel Waldo challenged assumptions that successful New Yorkers may have made about their city's prosperity. Waldo sold many copies of an engraving portraying "Old Pat" and made a finished portrait of him called The Beggar's Dessert that included a meager bone and bowl as attributes. In this painting, the sitter's gaunt, careworn features suggest considering him in sympathetic terms, yet his forceful gaze presents him as someone who cannot easily be made into an object of pity.

See also
American - Painting
Type of artwork: 
Oil on wood
Credit line: 
Gift of J. H. Wade

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