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Catalog Data

Artist:
Auguste Edouart, 1788 - 1861  Search this
Sitter:
Major Joseph L. M. Stevens, 2 Jun 1804 - ?  Search this
Medium:
Lithograph, chalk and cut paper on paper
Dimensions:
Image/Sheet: 28 × 21 cm (11 × 8 1/4")
Frame: 47.9 × 37.8 × 3.2 cm (18 7/8 × 14 7/8 × 1 1/4")
Type:
Silhouette
Place:
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Date:
1839
Exhibition Label:
At first glance, Auguste Edouart’s silhouette of Major Joseph L. M. Stevens appears to depict a boy in adult’s clothing. A closer look, however, tells a different story, as Edouart notes: “American Dwarf,” and “42 inches high / 34 years old and weight 50 pounds.” People with dwarfism captured the imagination of citizens in the 1800s. Stevens was employed by the New England Museum and the Boston Theatre, where audiences could indulge their curiosity about a man who frequently played the character “Tom Thumb.” He later took more control over his performances, booking his own venues. Stevens’s career has been overshadowed by the “other” Tom Thumb, Charles Sherwood Stratton, who achieved fame through P. T. Barnum’s shows. While Stevens’s biography goes far to recount his lively social life, the story is nonetheless tempered by the subject’s own observation. Other people, Stevens notes, wanted to spend time with him “for the object of viewing me [rather] than for the pleasure of my company.”
A primera vista, en esta silueta Auguste Edouart parece representar al mayor Joseph L. M. Stevens como un niño con ropa de adulto. Pero una segunda mirada nos dice una historia diferente, ya que Edouart anotó: “Enano americano” y “42 pulgadas de alto / 34 años de edad y 50 libras de peso”. En el siglo XIX el enanismo era algo que cautivaba la imaginación de la gente. Stevens fue empleado del Museo de Nueva Inglaterra y el Teatro de Boston, donde el público podía saciar su curiosidad acerca de este hombre que a menudo interpretaba el papel de “Pulgarcito”. Más tarde tomó las riendas de sus presentaciones y las gestionaba él mismo. La carrera de Stevens ha sido opacada por el “otro” Pulgarcito, Charles Sherwood Stratton, que se hizo famoso con el circo de P. T. Barnum. Si bien la biografía de Stevens describe con sumo detalle su activa vida social, el recuento está matizado por sus propias observaciones. La gente, apunta Stevens, quería pasar tiempo con él “por el mero hecho de verme [más que] por el placer de mi compañía”.
Topic:
Silhouette\Cut-out  Search this
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Table  Search this
Container\Urn  Search this
Costume\Headgear\Hat\Top hat  Search this
Interior\Architecture  Search this
Major Joseph L. M. Stevens: Male  Search this
Major Joseph L. M. Stevens: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor  Search this
Major Joseph L. M. Stevens: Performing Arts\Performer\Dancer  Search this
Major Joseph L. M. Stevens: Visual Arts\Artist\Silhouettist  Search this
Major Joseph L. M. Stevens: Society and Social Change\Disability\Dwarf  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Robert L. McNeil, Jr.
Object number:
S/NPG.91.126.29.A
Restrictions & Rights:
CC0
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Location:
Currently not on view
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm440638406-fbf5-4979-a6ec-c357f2090d00
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_S_NPG.91.126.29.A