Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by purchase to the Boston Athenaeum at the sale of Jefferson's art collection at the Athenaeum in 1828; by loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1876; by purchase to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation in 1977
Accession Number: 1977-80
Historical Notes: Although Jefferson identified this painting as "Doctr. Franklin. an original drawn for the Abbe Very by Greusz," it is a copy of Duplessis's famous fur-collar portrait, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.1 Duplessis, a respected portrait painter, exhibited it in the Salon of 1779, and numerous copies of it were made by Duplessis as well as other artists.
At Monticello Franklin hung in the upper tier in the Parlor. After Jefferson's death it was shipped to the Boston Athenaeum in 1828 where it was the only painting that was sold. The Boston Athenaeum paid $200 for it to Joseph Coolidge, Jr., Jefferson's grandson-in-law. Coolidge reported to Mrs. Randolph, "the Exhibition has closed, and only one has, as yet, been sold; the Franklin, to the Atheneum!"5