Thomas Jefferson Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals

19 October 2019–19 January 2020

Exhibition Overview

Mather Brown - Thomas Jefferson

Mather Brown, Thomas Jefferson, 1786. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; bequest of Charles Francis Adams; Frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, NPG.99.66.

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, was also the most important architectural thinker of the young republic.

Through his travels in the colonies and Europe and his extensive library, he engaged with contemporary ideas of architectural design. Yet, at the same moment, the creation of these monuments was founded on the economic and social institution of slavery. The inherent conflict is inescapable.

The Chrysler Museum of Art will examine these facets of Jefferson’s architectural formation and practice to foster a new and fuller understanding of his accomplishments.

(Photo by Mark Gulezian/NPG.)

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