Portrait of George Washington (Athenaeum Type)
Gilbert Charles Stuart, American, 1755 - 1828
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Gilbert Stuart's life portrait of Washington, painted in 1796 in his studio in the Germantown area of Philadelphia, was destined to become the most famous likeness of the nation's first president. It has long been displayed on America's dollar bill, and it was repeatedly copied by Stuart himself, as well as by many artists in the United States and overseas.
Born in Rhode Island, Stuart gained an international reputation in London and Ireland for his ability to capture the likeness and character of his sitters. He came to Philadelphia on a personal mission to paint the country's first head of state, and was inundated with orders for replicas, which he ultimately came to refer to as his "hundred dollar bills." This version was commissioned about 1800 by John Dunn, a young attorney and member of the Irish Parliament who came to the United States between 1797 and 1802 to study Native American languages.