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Edwin Forrest in the Role of Metamora

@ National Portrait Gallery


Like Ira Aldridge, Edwin Forrest debuted on the stage as Othello; but unlike the African American actor, Forrest caused a sensation and became one of the American theater's first great actors. Forrest brought a new naturalism to the American stage, one that exemplified the strength and vigor of the American character. In this portrait he is shown as Metamora, "an original of this country," the Indian hero of a play commissioned by Forrest himself.Forrest became a symbol of American nationalism in the ethnically charged atmosphere of the 1830s and 1840s. In 1849 a nativist mob of his supporters attacked New York's Astor Place Theater, where the English actor William Macready was performing. A panicked police force could not control the riot, and twenty-two people were killed in the melee.The artist; Thomas Agate Carmichael; (Victor Spark); purchased 1965 NPG.
Oil On Canvas
Created Date:
C. 1832
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Kathryn and Gilbert Miller Fund in memory of Alexander Ince
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Record Contributed By

National Portrait Gallery

Record Harvested From

Smithsonian Institution