National Society of Colonial Dames of
America in Tennessee

Portrait #815
Marx, Charles (1806-1859) & Marx, Frederick (1804-1887)
Date Created:Circa 1810-1815
Owner/Location:Private Collection
Frame Dimensions:23 1/2 X 19 1/2
Image Dimensions:16 1/2 X 12 1/2
Materials/Media:oil on board
Date Documented: May 14, 2007

Description:Two boys are standing together, the arm of one around the other's shoulder, both facing almost forward in a three-quarter length view. Their faces are round and similar, each one's below-the-ear chestnut hair parted on the high left. They wear black suits with white shirts and starched collars flaring out from a central fastening at the neck. The first impression is that they might be twins, but on examination they appear to be of slightly different ages. The background is dark with just a suggestion of light at the horizon. The frame is a recessed molding finished with a dark gold leaf. The wood appears reddish.
History of Work:This painting was purchased at a Richmond, VA estate sale about 1920 by the owner's mother, Lucy Cole Durham, who gave it to the owner in the 1950s. (At the same sale the portrait of the boys' mother was purchased by Mrs. Durham's sister, Alice Cole.) The owner does not remember that any cleaning was done during ownership by her family.
Notes: Rabbi Malcolm Stern of the American Jewish Archives identifies these boys as Charles Marx of Richmond, VA, born October 8, 1806, died November 17, 1859, married to Elizabeth Hays, and Frederick Marx, later a Richmond physician, born 1804, died January 8, 1887, unmarried, sons of Joseph Marx and Richea Myers Marx. Joseph was a German immigrant, the son of another Joseph, the court physician to the Elector of Hanover. In the late 18th century the boys' father arrived in Richmond, poor and unknown, but died having risen to a position of eminence and having made important contributions to the city's cultural and business progress. Joseph and his large family lived in an impressive house at 201 South Fifth Street, now destroyed. This was possibly the location of the estate sale where this portrait was purchased, and the estate was of a Marx woman who died without children. The portrait in any event was purchased on South Fifth Street. The boys' mother can be seen in a companion painting #814..