Four Children in a Courtyard

Jeremiah Paul, American, first documented 1791, died 1820

Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

43 x 54 1/2 inches (109.2 x 138.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the McNeil Americana Collection, 2007

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Portraiture is the subject of this picture: as the boy attempts to strike a pose appropriate for posterity, the girl attentively records his likeness. Jeremiah Paul based this image on a print after a work by British artist Richard Morton Payne; the practice of using imported prints as models was common among American painters of the time. While Paul’s contemporaries noted his diverse undertakings and peripatetic lifestyle, they also praised his precocious talent. He produced portraits, genre scenes (realistic depictions of everyday life), and historical paintings like The Death of Julius Caesar and The Washington Family, as well as signs, phantasmagorias, stage scenery, and a nine-by-seven-foot Venus and Cupid.