Thumbnail image for Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)Thumbnail image for Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)
Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)

Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)

John Singleton Copley

An item at Art Institute of Chicago

John Singleton Copley was largely self-taught, his only formal training from his stepfather Peter Pelham, an English artist who specialized in mezzotint engraving. He nonetheless garnered considerable success as a portrait painter before the Revolutionary War. The sitter here, Mary Greene Hubbard, was a member of Boston's merchant class (Copley's portrait of her husband is nearby). Her pose, gown, and background were precisely copied from a British engraving of a noblewoman, yet Copley distinguished the work as his own by capturing the figure's individual features as well as the surfaces and colors of the luxurious fabrics. A decade later, he left colonial Massachusetts for England to further his career and simultaneously escape the strong political divides among family, friends, and patrons amid the impending Revolution.

Americas in the Making

An exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago

Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)

These galleries present dynamic and wide-ranging art forms made in the Americas, where artists have been at work since time immemorial. The region now known as Chicago has long been a vibrant center of Native artistic practices, including those of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations. European settler colonialism and the development of the metropolis-including our museum's founding in 1879-introduced global art forms. Together, these local histories shape the collections we steward today, which encompass diverse makers, objects, and styles spanning centuries and continents, from North to South America and the Caribbean. The works here offer layered stories of the Americas in the making. Created for a variety of purposes-from aesthetic to ceremonial to practical —they have the power to evoke a range of emotions and responses. Complex factors impacted their making, including displacement and immigration, enslavement, global trade, and indus-trialization. As a result, they offer insights across eras while inviting reinterpretation in our moment. Just as artistic traditions are continually made and remade, so, too, are our efforts to present them. Today you can find selections of the many histories of art in the Americas on this floor and the floor above, in tandem with Gallery 136, a dedicated space for celebrating Indigenous art.