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Part of The American Wing
John Trumbull (American, Lebanon, Connecticut 1756–1843 New York)
Date: 1789Accession Number: 1976.332
Gilbert Stuart (American, North Kingston, Rhode Island 1755–1828 Boston, Massachusetts)
Date: begun 1795Accession Number: 07.160
Charles Willson Peale (American, Chester, Maryland 1741–1827 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Date: ca. 1779–81Accession Number: 97.33
Date: ca. 1793–94Accession Number: 1977.243
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The George M. and Linda H. Kaufman Galleries
American colonists had a fierce sense of their privileges as English subjects, and, over time, they developed a distinctly American understanding of their rights and liberties and were willing to fight for them. The paintings seen in this gallery express the pride of a young nation born of revolution and celebrate its heroes and hard-fought battles. Following their study abroad, the American painters Charles Willson Peale, John Trumbull, and Gilbert Stuart returned from London to the United States, where they made life portraits of George Washington to exalt him in his roles as war hero and chief executive of the United States. His image, reproduced frequently in paintings, sculpture, and other media, symbolized the legitimacy of the newly independent nation and embodied the ideals of honesty, virtue, and patriotism. The first American-born artist to gain international prominence, Benjamin West, working in London, advanced the genre by painting scenes from contemporary history.
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