Pennsylvania artist Jacob Eichholtz has too long been hidden under the shadow of his famous friend Thomas Sully (1783-1872). The story and images of their young sons posed wearing a large torn hat, repeated here from a Philadelphia Free Library blog, expresses their inter-relationship:
Sully showed his appreciation of his friend’s work when in 1820 he closely imitated a ca. 1815 half-length oil portrait on wood panel Jacob had painted of his son Rubens Mayer Eichholtz. No one was buying Sully’s paintings, and he was about ready to give up. Deciding to paint in a more casual manner, he remembered Rubens’ portrait, and portrayed his own son Thomas Wilcocks Sully facing forward in a wide-brimmed straw just like Rubens. The Torn Hat painting is now very famous, and the remarkable similarities cannot be denied. Sully asked $100 for the work, twice as much as he charged for a painting of the same size, and sold it to John Hubbard, a Boston merchant and art collector.
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts owns the largest collection of Jacob Eichholtz paintings (scroll down past the header.) The Worlds of Jacob Eichholtz: Portrait Painter of the Early Republic by Thomas Ryan contains the best biography.
Story Behind the Portrait: Elizabeth A. Brooke Weed (Mrs. Robert J. Arundel)