Portrait of Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson is best-known for serving as the seventh president of the United States of America, but he also played a significant role in Florida's history. Prior to being elected president, Jackson was appointed as the first territorial governor of Florida. He established Florida's territorial government in 1821 when Spain ceded the land to the United States.
A portrait of Andrew Jackson hangs above the chest-on-chest in the guest bedroom at the Governor's Mansion. This oil painting is a modern copy of a portrait originally painted in 1835 by Asher B. Durand, one of America's prominent Hudson River School artists. The original portrait hangs in the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture at the New York Historical Society. The mansion's portrait is a copy, painted two inches larger than the original painting, as specified by the rules of the New York Historical Society. Our portrait was painted by Casimir Gregory Stapko (1913-2006) ca. 1980 and was commissioned by the Florida Governor's Mansion Foundation to commemorate Jackson's prominent role in Florida's history.
The portrait by Asher B. Durand depicts an older Jackson, a man famously referred to by his nickname, "Old Hickory". Durand's friend and patron, Luman Reed, commissioned the portrait of Jackson for his personal collection, which included portraits of the previous six presidents. In a letter to a friend about the commission, Reed relayed what the artist had told him about his famous subject: "He smokes, reads, writes and attends to other business while I am painting, and the whole time of a sitting is short of one hour…" Despite these challenges, both artists managed to create an enduring and dignified portrait of President Jackson.