When Kenyon Cox painted this portrait of the gimlet-eyed Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, he had become more famous for his murals and art theory than for his portraiture. In his writings, the most famous of which was Concerning Painting, he advocated careful drawing and modulated color, as well as the use of allegory and symbolism. Following its tradition of offering commissions to well-known artists with the understanding that placing a work in the Capitol was virtually payment enough, members of the committee paid Cox just $400 for this portrait.
History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, “John Joseph Fitzgerald,” https://history.house.gov/Collection/Listing/2002/2002-006-017/ (June 12, 2021)
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