George Washington Portrait Soars at Auction

Released on: May 28, 2008, 8:10 am

Press Release Author: Rosemary McKittrick

Industry: Government

Press Release Summary: Rosemary McKittricks's website offers
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Press Release Body: May 28, 2008 -- Gilbert Stuart, the father of American portrait
painting portrayed more than 1,000 famous people and their families on canvas.
Stuart said he could tell a sitter's personality just by studying their features.

George Washington was a good example.

When Stuart painted Washington in Philadelphia in 1796, he told Maj. Gen. Lee, whose
likeness he was also painting, the president had a temper he kept tightly under

A few days later, Gen. Lee sat eating breakfast with Washington and wife Martha.

\"I saw your portrait the other day-a capital likeness,\" said Lee, \"but Stuart says
you have a tremendous temper.\" \"Upon my word,\" remarked Mrs. Washington, \"Mr. Stuart
takes a great deal upon himself, to make such a remark.\" \"But stay, my dear lady,\"
said Lee, \"he added that the President had it under wonderful control.\"

With something close to a smile, Washington said, \"He is right.\"

Stuart's likeness of Washington is the classic portrayal of America's first
President. The 'Athenaeum' portrait, painted live, served as a model for countless

It wasn't easy humanizing the larger-than-life Washington. Stuart admitted having
trouble painting the President's face, especially his jaw, which was distorted by
his new set of false teeth.

Washington's likeness was in big demand. Few painters copied Stuart's work better
than his youngest daughter Jane. As his assistant, Jane was in a good position to
understand her father's style.

On Feb 22, Northeast Auctions offered a portrait of Washington by Jane Stuart in its
Manchester, N.H., auction. The 30 by 25 inch oil on canvas sold for $194,000.

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Contact Details: Rosemary McKittrick
Santa Fe

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