An extremely fine John Wood Dodge miniature portrait, done in watercolor on natural wafer. The sitter is a very handsome hazel-eyed young gentleman dressed in a white shirt and collar, with a black coat and osbaldeston cravat. The backing paper of the miniature is signed by Dodge as follows: "Painted by John W. Dodge Miniature Painter 42 Franklin St. New York Sept. 30th, 1836 Geo. C. Miller".
The miniature, as would be expected of Dodge's work, is superbly executed, and has no cracks, bowing, paint loss, or any other condition problems. The dark spots and the white spots or lines shown in the first photo are dirt specks or dust on the glass, and do not show in the second photo, which is a direct, unretouched scan. Any brown or uneven color or blurriness in the first photo are due to light reflections. The color and clarity of the first photo is accurate. The rear aperture is not glazed. The sight size of the painting is 2 3/8" in length and 1 7/8" in width.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: John Wood Dodge was born in New York City in 1807. Dodge was apprenticed to a sign painter, under whom he began to copy, then paint, original miniatures. When his apprenticeship ended, he rented a studio. During the winter of 1826-27, he studied at the National Academy of Design. He exhibited there from 1830 to 1838, and was elected an associate member in 1832. In the early 1830s William Dunlap wrote that Dodge "stands among the prominent professors of the art of painting portrait miniatures in New York."
Highly acclaimed for his work, Dodge's most popular engraved portraits were of Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. Dodge's miniature of Jackson, painted in 1842, met with instant approval. He painted it for his own use and took it to Washington for exhibition at the Library of Congress and then on to New York City, where he had it engraved by Moseley Isaac Danforth . This engraving was used as the basis for the United States two-cent "Black Jack" postage stamp issued in 1863. Dodge painted a number of smaller portraits of Jackson for Jackson's admirers. Prints of various works by Dodge enjoyed great commercial popularity.
Dodge died of pneumonia in 1893, at the age of eighty-six. His works are highly collected and appear in the collections of most major U.S. museums.