Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828)
Oil on canvas
Overall: 23 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. ( 59.7 x 49.5 cm ) frame: 26 x 22 1/4 in. ( 66 x 56.5 cm )
Traveling together to Washington, D.C. in 1805, Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) and his son Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860) met up with the great portrait artist Gilbert Stuart, who agreed to sit for the Peales. Stuart, who was known for his restless nature, later complained that the Peales’ portrait made him look like “an awkward clown”. The picture’s style is much closer to Rembrandt’s than his father’s, but it is clear that the men collaborated. The portrait was immediately sent to the Peale Museum in Philadelphia, where it was exhibited. The father and son had made the trip to Washington in the hopes of drumming up new portrait commissions. It was at this time, for example, that Rembrandt painted the Society's portrait of Thomas Jefferson (1867.306). This portrait of fellow-artist Gilbert Stuart was also painted in Washington. In his diary, Charles wrote that he “hoped by [Rembrandt’s] Painting the likenesses of some of the Public officials…[and] by exhibiting the portraits [he] may excite the desire of some of the members of Congress to employ him.” Rembrandt was, in fact, hired to paint portraits of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Gallatin and William Findley. This likeness of Gilbert Stuart, a joint effort between the two Peales, was exhibited at the Peale Museum in Philadelphia until it was purchased by Thomas Jefferson Bryan in 1854 and donated to the New York Historical Society, along with the rest of Bryan’s collection, in 1867.
Vedder, Lee A. "Nineteenth-century American paintings." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 146-155.
Gift of Thomas Jefferson Bryan
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.