Renowned statesman and Chancellor of New York Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813) sat for famed American portraitist Gilbert Stuart in c. 1794 shortly after the artist's return to the United States from England and Ireland. The present lot is a newly discovered addition to a group of five known versions of the portrait Stuart went on to paint for various family members of the sitter (see Lawrence Park, et. al., Gilbert Stuart, An Illustrated Descriptive List of His Work (New York, 1926), pp. 483-484, no. 499).
Robert Livingsgton was a prominent politician during the Revolutionary era and early Republic. He was part of the committee chosen to draft the Declaration of Independence and swore in President George Washington for his first term in office. Later, he played a crucial role in the negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase. The son of Robert R. Livingston (1718-1775) and Margaret (Beekman) (1724-1800), the Robert R. Livingston pictured here inherited their country home, Clermont, and may also have inherited part or whole of the set represented by the chair in the previous lot see lot 177, fig. 6).
Of Stuart's five known existing versions of this portrait, four are now in public collections at the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation (formerly on loan to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in the Department of State), the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Historical Soceity and Clermont State Historic Park.