Ariantje Coeymans Verplanck (1672-1743)

Attributed to Nehemiah Partridge (1683-about 1737)
Date: 1718 or 1722-1724
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 71 H x 39 W
Credit: Bequest of Miss Gertrude Watson
Accession Number: 1938.5

This monumental portrait is believed to be the first life-size, full-length likeness of a woman in colonial America. It was probably inspired by a comparable portrait of the first mayor of Albany, the most powerful figure in the Upper Hudson Valley at the time. Ariantje Coeymans Verplanck was powerful in her own right, having inherited and purchased land with houses, barns, and mills. She and her brother, Samuel, built one of the largest Dutch-style houses in the Upper Hudson Valley. This portrait was created by an itinerant painter who traveled around New England representing members of patrician families. It may have been painted on the occasion of Ariantje's marriage, at age fifty-one, to a man twenty-three years her junior. This seems probable given that she holds a rose (a traditional symbol of love) and prominently displays a ring. She is depicted in artist Nehemiah Partridge's characteristic style with quick, visible brushstrokes and a palette of black, brown, blue, and rust.