Signed at upper left, S.J. Woolf. Stamped on the back, 8698-AUG-3 1939
A student of the National Academy of Design and the Art Student's League, Samuel Johnson Woolf was a prolific artist, illustrator, and journalist. He began his career as a portrait painter working in oil before switching to charcoal illustration and lithography, often producing cover art for Time Magazine. Best known for his work as a staff writer at the New York Times, the multi-talented artist wrote about and drew over 400 subjects, simultaneously sketching and interviewing his sitters, who included George Bernard Shaw, Benito Mussolini, and Charles Lindbergh. The portrait of Gilbert Chesterton (London 1874 - 1936 London) is a significant example of Woolf's unique form of journalism, and demonstrates the artist's accomplished draftsmanship. Chesterton was a novelist and literary critic famous for his personality and striking appearance (he was known to wear a cape) as much as for his writing, which is widely represented in the Morgan's Printed Books collection. A more simplified portrait of Chesterton appears in Woolf's memoir, Drawn from Life, along with an account of Woolf's interview with the writer.