(American/Philadelphia, 1796-1865, active New Orleans early 1820s)
"Portrait of John Wandell (ca. 1790-1868)", 1833
oil on canvas
signed and dated mid-right, "Kennedy Galleries, Inc., N.Y." labels with artist and sitter en verso, handwritten inscription identifying previous owner
30" x 25", framed 39-1/2" x 34-1/2"
Provenance: Estate of Dr. Carroll Ball, Jackson, Mississippi.
Notes: John Neagle traveled through Kentucky and visited New Orleans in 1819 to 1820 in search of portrait commissions. Eventually settling in Philadelphia, Neagle was introduced to the city's leading portraitist, Thomas Sully and married his stepdaughter. Neagle enjoyed a successful career as portraitist of prominent members of the community. Additionally, he painted the portraits of his fellow artists, architects and colleagues. The "A. M'Elroy's Philadelphia Directory" of 1839 lists John Wandell as a gilder, and he may have become acquainted with Neagle through his work with frames.
John Wandell was born in New York around 1790, though precisely where and to whom remains a mystery, as do his early years and education. However, his life in Philadelphia is well-documented, beginning with his marriage on March 8, 1817 at the First Reformed Church of Philadelphia to Eliza Burt, who was born October 8, 1795 in Cumberland County New Jersey to Moses Burt (1772-1832) and Lovicy Westcott (1766-1863). The following year, Wandell first appears as a carver and gilder in the Philadelphia directory at 2 North Alley Street, and subsequent directories show a progressively prospering business. By 1840 he had purchased a residence at 149 North Fourth Street, and his business was located on High (now Market) Street. His business grew and moved northward as the city itself expanded, relocating to Callowhill Avenue (and including furniture) in 1846 and to Girard Avenue in 1851. He joined his son John Wandell, Jr. (1827-1864) in a cloth business on South Second Street in 1852, ultimately retiring from both businesses in 1859 and moving to Chelten Avenue in Germantown, where he died on October 8, 1868. He, his wife and several children are buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. The last of his seven children, Elizabeth Burt Wandell (Mrs. William M.) David, died in 1911.