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  PAINTING OF GEORGE WASHINGTON IN OIL ON CANVAS, AN EARLY EXAMPLE, RENDERED circa 1850, A VERY PLEASING AND WELL-EXECUTED COPY OF GILBERT STUART'S ATHENAEUM PORTRAIT
Dimensions (inches): Frame - 34.75" x 27", Work - 29.75" x 21.5"
Description:
Oil on canvas portrait of George Washington, painted circa 1850. The image is that of Gilbert Stuart's most famous work, the Athenaeum portrait. Stuart's original, painted in 1796, was actually left unfinished. It received that name because, following Stuart's death, the painting was sent to the Boston Athenaeum, one of America's oldest public libraries. Today it is among the holdings of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The portrait, intended for Washington, but never delivered, became a model used by Stuart to paint 130 copies, which he sold after Washington’s death for $100 each. More than 60 of these still exist. I bought one for a client in 2010 for just over $1m.

Reportedly, Stuart referred to the painting as "his hundred dollar bill," due to the amount he charged for the copies. Interestingly enough, the portrait became by far the most famous view of Washington because it served as the source for the engraving that would be used on the United States one-dollar bill.

While almost countless artists copied Stuart’s work, most did not do so successfully. This beautiful example, unsigned, is a notable exception.

Stuart began painting the original Athenaeum portrait in Germantown (part of Philadelphia) in 1796. Depicting only Washington's head and neck, he was 65 years old at the time. This was about three years prior to his passing. The frame for Stuart’s work was made by a local frame maker, picture dealer, and entrepreneur by the name of John Doggett. I paired this unsigned copy in a fantastic, ripple-profile, American frame of the 1830-1850 era, with a black and gold modeled finish and a gilded, pie crust liner.

Condition: The painting was previously relined to repair a tear in the lower right quadrant of the canvas, in Washington’s jacket. Because the tear was still readily visible, I had it filled and consolidated.
   
Primary Color: black, brown, white
Earliest Date: 1840
Latest Date: 1860
For Sale Status: Available
Price $25,000
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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