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A small full-length portrait in vertical format. It shows a man with a pale grey/blonde beard wearing a dark grey or black suit, the jacket rather long. His hands are behind his back, his right leg advanced forward. He looks directly at the viewer. The floor and background are pale brown.
George Aloysius Lucas (1824-1909) studied at West Point, like Whistler, but, like Whistler, failed to graduate; he became a railway engineer and family friend. He arrived in Paris in 1857 and lived there for the rest of his life as an agent for American collectors. He was joined in 1861 by the art collector and patron William Thompson Walters (1820-1894) of Baltimore who, like Lucas, had started his career as a civil engineer. Lucas gave this portrait to Walters' son Henry Walters (1841-1931) in 1908.
For years Lucas helped arrange the exhibition of Whistler's work in Paris. Lucas's diaries suggest that his friendship with Whistler was terminated soon after this portrait was painted.
A life-size three-quarter length portrait by Léon Bonnat (1833-1922), painted in 1885, and showing Lucas face-on, with almost photographic precision, is also in the Walters Art Gallery (37.759).
A medal by Victor David Brenner (1871-1924) containing a profile bust of Lucas, was given by the sitter to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1901.
Last updated: 14th October 2020 by Margaret