Artist John Singleton Copley, American, 1738-1815
Title
  • Head of a Negro
Date 1777 or 1778
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 21 × 16 1/4 inches (53.3 × 41.3 cm)
Framed: 27 × 23 3/4 × 2 1/2 inches (68.6 × 60.3 × 6.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Gibbs-Williams Fund
Accession Number 52.118
Department American Art before 1950
On View American W270, Level 2 (see map)
John Singleton Copley;
Mrs. John Singleton Copley;
their son, Lord Lyndhurst, John Singleton Copley, Jr. (London, England).
March 5, 1864, Lyndhurst Sale, lot 69, Christie's (London, England).
Issac J. W. Burnett (Rock Hall, Alnwick, Northumberland, England).
May 23-24, 1928, J. W. Burnett Sale, lot 217, Christie's (London, England).
Mann;
February 24, 1951, Mann Sale, lot 102, Christie's (London, England);
1951, dealer, M. Knoedler Co. (New York, New York, USA).
1952-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Lyndhurst Estate Sale. Sales cat., London, March 5, 1864, no. 69. ["Head of a Negro/ Very fine - introduced into the picture of "A boy saved from a Shark"; painting sold for eleven pounds, eleven shillings.]

Perkins, Augustus Thorndike. Sketch of the Life and a List of Some of the Works of John Singleton Copley Boston, 1873, p. 132.

Sales cat., Christie's. London, May 23-24, 1928, no. 217.

Bayley, Frank W. Five Colonial Artists of New England. Boston, 1929, p. 184.

"Recent Additions to America's Public Collections." Art Digest 26 (July 1952): p. 7.

Richardson, Edgar P. “Head of a Negro by John Singleton Copley.” The Art Quarterly 15, 4 (Winter 1952): p. 351.

_____________. “Head of a Negro by John Singleton Copley.” Bulletin of the DIA 32, 3 (1952-1953): pp. 68-70 (ill.).

Prown, Jules D. John S. Copley 1774-1815. Cambridge, MA, 1966, pp. 274, 301, 322 (fig. 381).

Plate, Robert. John Singleton Copley. New York, 1969, pp. 90-91 (ill.).

Frankenstein, Alfred. The World of Copley 1738-1815. New York, 1970, p. 149.

John Singleton Copley 1738-1815. Exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery. Washington, D.C., 1965, p. 95, no. 69.

McElroy, Guy C. Facing History: The Black Image in American Art, 1710-1940. Washington, D.C., 1990, pp. 4-5.

Shaw, Nancy Rivard, et al. American Paintings in the Detroit Institute of Arts, Volume I. New York, 1991, pp. 62-64 (ill.).

American Beauty: Painting and Sculpture from the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1770-1920. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 2002, p. 12, no. 5.