Scene from James Fenimore Cooper's "The Spy"

Creator: 
Title: 
Scene from James Fenimore Cooper's "The Spy"
Date: 
Identifier: 
N0381.1955
Description: 
Paintings of early American theatrical productions are extremely rare. This example depicts a scene from a dramatization of Cooper's novel, The Spy, in which Harry Wharton, a loyalist, is unable to deceive Captain Lawton and removes his disguise. The first production took place in the Park Theatre, New York City, on May 1, 1822. Although successful for several years, The Spy was the only play taken from one of Cooper's novels during his lifetime. William Dunlap was uniquely situated as the artist of this painting. A friend of Cooper, he divided his career between the stage and painting on canvas. Most of his artistic production consisted of portraits and miniatures. He became more important historically than artistically. In 1824, he helped bring the landscape paintings of Thomas Cole to public notice and was a founder of the National Academy of Design in 1826. His most lasting work came as a writer. In 1832, he published A History of the American Theatre and two years later, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States-two important sources for American cultural history.
Physical dimensions: 
depth 2.5 in ; height 28.25 in ; width 33.25 in
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