JOURNEYMAN portraitists did a Bustling business in the days of the young republic. The U.S. was popping with pride and prosperity, and its citizens demanded painted proof of how handsome, rich and grand they found themselves. Portraitist John Neagle (1796-1865) was one of scores who helped fill the demand. But his efforts gained him more goods than glory, and he would long since have have been forgotten except for one extraordinary picture. Perhaps the first commissioned portrait of a workingman, the painting (opposite) is on view this Labor Day week at Boston's Museum of...

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