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George Washington

Date: 1797
28 1/2 x 23 5/8 in. (72.4 x 60 cm.)
frame: 35 1/4 x 30 5/16 x 3 in. (89.5 x 77 x 7.6 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of Mrs. Alexander Baring
Object Number: 39.1
Label Text:Gilbert Stuart portrayed George Washington gazing resolutely from the canvas, confronting the viewer. Stuart animated the surface of the portrait by using quick, lively brushstrokes such as those that delineate Washington's lace shirt ruffle and his wig. This lightness of touch is characteristic of Stuart's handling of paint.

Between 1795 and 1796, George Washington sat for three portraits by Stuart. This version, a bust-length image of Washington facing left, is an early replica of the Athenaeum type, so called because Stuart's original was owned by the Boston Athenaeum. Stuart made approximately 75 replicas of the Athenaeum Washington, which has become the iconic image of the first president of the United States, serving as the basis for his engraved portrait on the one-dollar bill. Another example of Stuart's Athenaeum-type portraits of Washington is on view in the dining room of the Huntington Art Gallery.