Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

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Web Property of the U.S. Department of State


Object Details

Philip Alexius de Laszlo de Lombos (British, 1869-1937)
oil on canvas
Overall: 41 in x 30 in; 104.14 cm x 76.2 cm
This portrait of Robert Lansing, which is thought to have been done from life, was purchased by the Department of State on March 13, 1921.
Signed "de Laszlo 1921."
Credit Line
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Accession Number


Robert Lansing (1864–1928) was born in Watertown, New York. He graduated from Amherst College and practiced law, becoming an authority on international law. He often represented the United States in arbitration and negotiations, including the treaty regarding the hunting of fur seals in the Bering Sea. President Woodrow Wilson appointed Lansing secretary of state in 1915.

During World War I, Lansing supported neutrality while advocating for the principles of the freedom of the seas and the rights of neutral nations. But Germany’s practice of unrestricted submarine warfare—attacking even passenger ships without warning—convinced him to support U.S. participation in World War I. After the Armistice he accompanied President Wilson to Europe as one of the lead U.S. negotiators at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. As secretary Lansing also signed the Treaty of 1916 for the purchase of the Danish West Indies and the Lansing-Ishii Agreement of 1917, pledging with Japan to uphold the Open Door Policy in China while recognizing Japan’s special interests in China. Due to disagreements over the League of Nations and President Wilson’s inability to perform his presidential duties following a stroke, Lansing resigned in 1920.

Lansing returned to his law practice in New York. He was the son-in-law of former Secretary of State John W. Foster and uncle to a later secretary, John Foster Dulles.