Albert Tracy (Haddock) [1818-1893] : The duel : Mercutio and Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet, 1845.


Albert Tracy (Haddock) [1818-1893]
American historic Realist artist and poet
The duel : Mercutio and Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet, 1845
Oil on canvas
20 x 24 inches [unframed]
Signed at lower right and dated : ‘A. TRACY / det. (and additional ‘T’ raised above ‘T’) / 1845′

Marking type: Ink stamped logo.
Location: Canvas lower left verso (upside-down).

2023 The duel [per dealer]

Original untouched condition in period frame.

The painting is a scene from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, act 3, scene 1, a sword fight between Mercutio (Montages) and Tybalt (Capulets).  Mercutio is in red and green on the left and Tybalt in blue and yellow on the right.  In the scene Romeo throws himself in between the two fighters.  However, Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo’s arm, and as Mercutio falls, Tybalt and his men hurry away.  This is just before the stabbing where Romeos tries to intervene.  The Corso Castelvecchio is seen in the background.  The painting is from 1845 just before the war breaks out between the American and Mexicans in 1846.

Interestingly the date has an unusual mathematical notation: ‘det.’ which is called a Hyperdeterminant, is a generalization of the determinant.  The mark was introduced in 1945 among intellectual circles of academics.  There is also a small ‘T’ that is raised above just after the det.  This is a power function and using ‘T’ means transpose.  As a poet, the mathematical symbol likely appealed to Tracy’s poetic nature, drawing an unofficial title from the signature and dating of the artwork.  It is like the symbol is showing a determined conclusion that transposes the two houses.  Illustrating important plays was popular during this period and later picked up by the next generation of illustrators like Edwin Austin Abbey.

2023 ( David Smernoff, New Haven, CT & New York, NY ) ;
after 1845 Private collection of [unknown] ;
1845 Albert Tracy (Haddock) [1818-1893], the artist .

– [none known] ;

– [none known] ;

Albert Tracy (Haddock) (April 28, 1818 – March 6, 1893) was an American artist, poet, and military officer. He was born in Buffalo, New York to John Harrod Haddock and Sally Kimball. In 1856, he married Sarah Whitman (Parris) Tracy (1824-1905) in Portland, Maine, with whom he had at least three sons: Parris Tracy (1857–1864), Paul H Tracy (1865–1919) and Porter Tracy (1867–1893).

Haddock graduated from the United States Military Academy and served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War and American Civil War, attaining the rank of brevet colonel. He participated in expeditions against the Sioux from Fort Snelling, Minnesota and in the Utah War. During the Mexican-American War, he was brevetted captain for gallant conduct at the Battle of Chapultepec.

After resigning from the U.S. Army in 1848, Haddock served as Adjutant General of Maine from 1852 to 1855. He later rejoined the army in time for the American Civil War, serving as aide-de-camp to General John C. Frémont.

In addition to his military career, Haddock was known as an artist and poet. He lived in St. Augustine, Florida in 1880 and died in New York City in 1893 at the age of 74. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, Maine. His artworks and writings focused on nature and spirituality. Haddock’s poems were published posthumously in the collection Stray Leaves from the Book of Nature (1895). His landscape paintings and sketches documented his travels throughout North America.