1903 Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, Signed by Jacques Reich

Presented is a Jacques Reich etched head and shoulders portrait of Benjamin Franklin. The portrait includes Reich's signature at bottom left. Reich completed the portrait in 1903. 

Jacques Reich was Hungarian-born portrait etcher, active mainly in the United States. After studying at the National Academy of Design in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Reich established a studio in New York City in 1885. Working on private commissions and portrait designs for Appelton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography and Scribner’s Cylodaedia of Painters and Paintings, Reich honed his portraiture technique and skill. In the early 1890s, Reich began working on copper plates, etching a series of 14 portraits of American and English artists, writers, and poets.

Reich completed a series of etched portraits titled “Famous Americans”, which number 25 subjects, and include Hamilton, Franklin, Carnegie, Curtis, Roosevelt, Washington, Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, as displayed here.

The Franklin portrait is a beautifully executed etching, printed in 1903. Reich based his portrait off the famous 1778 Joseph Siffred Duplessis oil painting of Franklin.  Franklin arrived in France in December of 1776 to negotiate aid for the American Revolutionary War. He was already a celebrity, known for his simple dress and refusal to wear a wig at court. While in France, Franklin stayed in a house provided by Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont. Chaumont commissioned both a terracotta medallion with Franklin’s profile and an oil painting from Duplessis. The painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1779 and quickly emerged as the most iconic image of this legendary statesman, later used on the American 100 dollar bill. 


Very good condition. Paper is healthy and the impression is strong. Etching has been archivally framed in a custom-built wooden frame with UV Conservation Clear glass. 

Framed Dimensions: 24"H x 20"W x 1"D

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