Attributed to Francis Martin Drexel (1792-1863)
Portrait of a Gentleman Seated in a Painted Chair
Oil on canvas
35 ¾ x 30 ½ inches
Probably painted in Philadelphia, ca. 1820
The famous Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Francis Martin Drexel began life in Dornbirn, Austria, where he was the eldest son of a well-to-do merchant. Family circumstances changed following Austria’s defeat at the hands of Napoleon and the subsequent occupation of Tyrol by Napoleon. Drexel worked as a painter, first in Dornbirn and later in Switzerland before immigrating to the United States.
After arriving in Philadelphia in 1817, Drexel established his studio and began exhibiting at the august Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts a year later. Concentrating on portraiture, Drexel built his clientele and reputation. In 1826, Drexel sailed to South America to paint but also to immerse himself in the world of finance. He returned to Philadelphia in 1830 and by 1836 he had established his own international bank, Drexel and Company.
Drexel University was founded by Francis Martin’s son, Anthony Joseph Drexel. He continued the family’s interest in art as one of the leading collectors of the nineteenth-century.
Item ID: WoA-AMP-OC 004