Born at Utica, New York, Henry Inman moved with his parents to New York City, where he began a seven-year apprenticeship under portraitist John Wesley Jarvis. In 1824 Inman established his own studio in the city. Two years later he helped to found the National Academy of Design, serving as its vice president until 1831, when he moved to Philadelphia to become a partner in the lithographic firm of Childs and Inman. He returned to New York City in 1834 and enjoyed considerable success over the next ten years as a portrait painter, including among his sitters President Martin Van Buren and Chief Justice John Marshall. Inman's last important commission took him to England in 1844-45 to paint the portraits of Lord Macaulay and of the poet William Wordsworth. He died within a few months of his return to the States.

While abroad, Inman painted the portrait of Scottish nobleman Sir William Drummond Stewart, who had undertaken an expedition into the American West in 1837 accompanied by Alfred Jacob Miller, a Baltimore artist. Miller produced a number of works for Stewart at Murthly Castle in Scotland, where he met Inman. A collection of Miller's watercolors and the Inman portrait of Stewart ultimately were purchased by Joslyn Art Museum. Stewart's portrait is one of the last that Inman painted and, arguably, one of the best.

- David C. Hunt

William Drummond Stewart

American, 1801-1846
Portrait of Sir William Drummond Stewart
oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches

Attributed to Henry Inman (1801-1846)
John Wesley Jarvis, ca. 1822
watercolor and pencil on paper
9.5 x 7.6 cm (3 3/4 x 3 in.)

John Wesley Jarvis

Springfield Museum of ArtAnna Bloodgood and her Daughter

1840 oil on canvas, laid on board 35 1/2" x 28" 1992.011

Cornelia Rutgers Livingston, ca.1833

VanBuren by Inman

Martin Van Buren, a reproduction of an 1839 painting by Henry Inman.

Henry Inman

Daguerreotype Portrait of
Henry Inman from the
studio of Matthew Brady

Henry Inman

Daguerreotype Portrait of
Henry Inman from the
studio of Matthew Brady.

Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon

Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon, 1841
oil on canvas
17 1/8 x 14 1/16 inches
Fisher Gallery, USC,

Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Holmes Fisher

inman-wmv2.jpg (13776 bytes)

  Henry Inman's talent and versatility in painting miniatures, genre scenes, historical subjects, and landscapes won him wide acclaim in the New York art scene of the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Formally trained as a portrait painter, Inman established his career within this realm, eventually commanding higher prices for his portraits than any previous American painter had received. Inman's sitters included well-known figures from the theater, politics, society and the clergy. A founding member of the National Academy of Design, Inman was also an Academician in the American Academy and, during a two-year residency in Philadelphia, a director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
  In Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon,
Inman depicts the natural setting around one of America's most revered sites in carefully rendered details. During the increasingly tense political period prior to Civil War, this painting, as well as depictions of America's foremost hero, were used to reinforce a national identity and a shared sense of American history.
  Inman's oeuvre includes few pure landscapes due, as Inman said, to his patrons' "rage for portraits." Thus, Washington's Tomb offered Inman the opportunity to paint a landscape surrounding a "portrait" of the site. Although Inman attempted to depict as much of the natural landscape as possible, he focused primarily on this national symbol, including spectators to emphasize the importance of the monument. In the surrounding landscape, visitors are able to be active as well as contemplative. The painting thus expresses both the patriotism and spirituality which were so important to the aesthetic of the nineteenth-century American landscape tradition.

George Pope Morris, c. 1836 oil on canvas, .762 x .638 m (30 x 25 1/8 in.)  
Andrew W. Mellon Collection 1947.17.8

Sequoyah (1770?-1843)
after Charles Bird King Oil on canvas, circa 1830
 Among the best-known and most feared Indians of the nineteenth century, the Prophet and his brother, Techumseh, were Shawnee leaders of a fervent movement to instill Indian unity in the Ohio Valley from 1805 through the War of 1812. Angered by the Jefferson administration's attempts to gain Indian lands through piecemeal cessions, the Prophet preached resistance. He also rejected Jeffersonian suggestions about Indian assimilation, and urged instead that Indians retain their own culture. By 1811 his resistance movement had led to sporadic warfare in the Old Northwest. But in November of that year, William Henry Harrison routed the Prophet and his allies near Tippecanoe in the Indiana Territory. The destruction of this Indian confederacy effectively opened the Ohio River Valley to white settlement. 
 The exact date when the Prophet sat for his picture is not recorded, but the original by Charles Bird King (1785-1862) was part of the War Department Indian Gallery, painted between 1822 and 1832. This collection was almost totally destroyed by fire at the Smithsonian (where the Gallery was housed) on January 24, 1865. Fortunately, the young Henry Inman was commissioned between 1830 and 1832 to copy the collection for the publication of McKenney and Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America (1836-1844). In 1882 most of the Inman copies were given to the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, the previous owner of this portrait. 
Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) 
(1775-1837) Indian chief, after Charles Bird King Oil on canvas, c. 1830-1833
A Mother and Child 9" x 7.5" The Children of Henry Living 42.5" x 60.2"
James Henry Hackett as Rip 30.2" x 25.2" Portrait of a Lady 10" x 8"