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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Alvan Fisher, American (Needham, MA 1792 - 1863 Dedham, MA)
Johann Gaspar Spurzheim (1776 - 1832)
Johann Gaspar Spurzheim (1776-1832)
Work Type
Creation Place: North America, United States
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
92.2 x 72 cm (36 5/16 x 28 3/8 in.)
framed: 114.9 x 94.6 x 7.6 cm (45 1/4 x 37 1/4 x 3 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Gift of The Boston Phrenological Society, 1840.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard University Portrait Collection, Gift of The Boston Phrenological Society, 1840
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • William Garrott Brown, A List of Portraits in the Various Buildings of Harvard University, Harvard University Library (Cambridge, MA, 1898), p. 39
  • Laura M. Huntsinger, Harvard Portraits: A Catalogue of Portrait Paintings at Harvard University, ed. Alan Burroughs, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1936), pp. 128-129
  • Alan Burroughs, Limners and Likenesses: Three Centuries of American Painting, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1936), p. 127
  • Anthony A. Walsh, "The American Tour of Dr. Spurzheim.", Journal of the History of Medicine (November 1972), vol. XXVII, p. 198n., p. 198n
  • William H. Gerdts, The Art of Healing: Medicine and Science in American Art, exh. cat., Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham, AL, 1981), p. 40
  • Jennifer Yunginger Madden, Seeking the Realization of a Dream: The Paintings of Alvan Fisher, Heritage Plantation of Sandwich (Sandwich, MA, 2001), xxii, ill. pp. 22-23.
  • Charles Colbert, A Measure of Perfection: Phrenology and the Fine Arts in America (Chapel Hill, NC, 2009), p. 16-17, ill.
  • Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press (U.S.) and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), pp. 205-207, cat. 155, ill.

Exhibition History

  • Seeking the Realization of a Dream: The Paintings of Alvan Fisher, Heritage Plantation of Sandwich, Sandwich

Verification Level

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