George Washington (1732-1799)
Oil on canvas
canvas: 35 1/2 x 29 in. ( 90.2 x 73.7 cm ) frame: 47 1/4 x 40 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (120 x 102.9 x 11.4 cm)
In 1823 Rembrandt Peale announced that he, one of the few living artists who had painted Washington from life, would create a portrait of the subject that would surpass all others in its authenticity and expression. The result was what has become known as the "porthole" Washington, from the trompe-l'oeil stone frame that surrounds the bust. Peale launched a publicity campaign that evidently worked, for it is estimated that between seventy-five and eighty replicas were produced.
Peale, Rembrandt, "Reminiscences. The Person and Mien of Washington," The Crayon, Vol. III, 1856, pp. 100-1. Barck, Dorothy C., "Washingtoniana of the New York Historical Society," New-York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin, 15, January 1932, pp. 126-30. Catalogue of American Portraits in The New-York Historical Society, New Haven: Yale University Press, Vol. 1, 1974, pp. 862-3. Miller, Lillian B., Rembrandt Peale 1778-1860: A Life in the Arts, Philadelphia: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania¸ 1985, pp. 32-3, 66-7, 86-91. Ward, David C., "The Portraiture of Charles Wilson Peale and Rembrandt Peale, 1822-27," American Art, Vol. 7, No. 1, Winter 1933, pp. 9-27. Bellion, Wendy, Citizen Spectator: Art Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America, Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Press, 2011, pp. 296-315.
Bequest of Caroline Phelps Stokes
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.