Today's Article - Gilbert Stuart

This article is for quizzes on Wednesday February 1st...

Gilbert Charles Stuart (born Stewart; December 3, 1755 – July 9, 1828) was an American painter from Rhode Island and is widely considered one of America's foremost portraitists.

Stuart painted George Washington in a series of iconic portraits, each of them leading in turn to a demand for copies, and keeping Stuart busy and highly paid for years. The most famous and celebrated of these likenesses is known as The Athenaeum and is currently portrayed on the United States one dollar bill. Stuart, along with his daughters, painted a total of 130 reproductions of The Athenaeum. However, he never completed the original version; after finishing Washington's face, he kept the original version to make the copies. He sold up to 70 of his reproductions for a price of US$100 each, but the original portrait was left unfinished at the time of Stuart's death in 1828. The painting was jointly purchased by the National Portrait Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1980, and was on display in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. in late 2014.
Another celebrated image of Washington is the Lansdowne portrait, a large portrait with one version hanging in the East Room of the White House. This painting was saved during the burning of Washington by British troops in the War of 1812 through the intervention of First Lady Dolley Madison and Paul Jennings, one of President James Madison's slaves. Four versions of the portrait are attributed to Stuart, and additional copies were painted by other artists for display in U.S. government buildings. In 1803, Stuart opened a studio in Washington, D. C.

Throughout his career, Gilbert Stuart produced portraits of over 1,000 people, including the first six Presidents of the United States. His work can be found today at art museums throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, most notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Frick Collection in New York City, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the National Portrait Gallery, London, Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.


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