Portrait in a Minute (3 of 25)
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The National Portrait Gallery's Warren Perry discusses a portrait of Ernest Hemingway by artist Waldo Peirce, on view in the exhibition "Twentieth Century Americans" on the third floor.

Born Oak Park, Illinois
In 1954, when writer Ernest Hemingway received the Nobel Prize for Literature, he was cited especially for his "mastery of the art of modern narration." But in his novels, such as The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls, and in his many brilliant short stories as well, Hemingway had not merely mastered a new literary style. In large degree he had invented it, and his emotionless and succinct writing ultimately became a major influence in determining the direction of twentieth-century American literature.

Hemingway first met artist Waldo Peirce in Europe in 1927, and years later he would describe Peirce, who shared his passion for hunting and fishing, as "the best company anybody ever had." Peirce's drawing of Hemingway dates from the several months in 1928 that they spent together in Key West, Florida. The picture is inscribed to the artist's son Jonathan from "Papa," a nickname often applied to Hemingway by his friends.

Filmed at NPG, August 2012.

Ernest Miller Hemingway / Waldo Peirce / Ink on paper, 1928 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Jonathan Peirce


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