19 June 2007
POLK, James K. (1795-1849), President. Hand-colored portrait engraving signed ("James K. Polk," with flourish), n.d. [after 1845].
9½ x 7 in. engraved portrait on heavy stock. Engraved signature beneath the portrait, at base an American eagle with shield and legend "President of the United States," the engraving FINELY HANDCOLORED (the coloring evidently contemporaneous with the engraving). A good image of Polk in a rich blue jacket and tie. Clear dark in signature along the upper left-hand edge.
A SIGNED POLK PRESIDENTIAL PORTRAIT: APPARENTLY THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE
The artist who engraved the fine portrait is unknown, but it can certainly can be dated during Polk's term in the White House (4 March 1845 to 3 March 1849). It is also likely to have been signed during his presidency, although this must remain conjectural since Polk lived some three months after leaving office (date of death: 15 June 1849). This example is apparently THE ONLY RECORDED SIGNED PORTRAIT OF POLK. No signed photographs of Polk are treaceable in auction records, and none was part of the Marans or Campbell Collections.
Provenance: Victor Jacobs (sale, Sotheby's, 29 October 1996, lot 89, $46,000).
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