Rembrandt Peale

Self-Portrait, 1828

OTHER IMAGES

QUICK FACTS
BORN:
22 February 1778 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
  DIED:
3 October 1860 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Buried at The Woodlands in Philadelphia.

  • Two of Rembrandt Peale’s brothers are especially known today. Raphaelle Peale (1774 - 1825), was one of the earliest of American still-life painters. Titian Ramsey Peale (1800 - 85), made numerous drawings, some of them in water-color, illustrating animal life.
LINKS

Rembrandt Peale, American painter, scion of artists, and son of Charles Willson Peale, was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania in 1778. He studied under his father, under Benjamin West in London (1802 - 03), and for two years in Paris (1807 - 09).

As early as 1795 he had begun an artistic career with a life portrait of Washington. From this portrait he created a number of copies; he also used it as the starting point for his famous Patriae Pater, purchased by the United States government in 1832, and now in the Senate of the U.S. Capitol.

Peale succeeded John Trumbull as president of the American Academy of Fine Arts (founded in 1802 as the New York Academy of Fine Arts), and he was one of the original members of the National Academy of Design. He wrote several books, among them Notes on Italy (1831) and Reminiscences of Art and Artists (1845). In 1843 he devised a system of teaching drawing and penmanship for Philadelphia public schools.

Peale was one of the first of American lithographers. He was an excellent draftsman, but in color his work cannot rank with that of his father.

His portraits include those of President Jefferson, Chief Justice John Marshall, French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, and an Equestrian Portrait of George Washington.

He died in Philadelphia in 1860.

ADAPTED FROM:
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 ed.

George Washington ordered his overseers to begin the 1767 wheat harvest on June 24, a hot, cloudy Saturday at the end of a dry week. Thus began twenty days of unrelenting exertion for Mount Vernon’s slaves and no little anxiety for their master, who for the first time had given over his holding almost entirely to the cultivation of grain. Much depended on the success of this experiment, which was a crucial element in Washington’s scheme to free himself of the debts he had accumulated over the years of failing to produce tobacco that would sell on London’s finicky market. Rich as he was in land, he feared that, like so many of his fellow planters, he too would become permanently dependent on his English merchant creditors. It was a fate he dreaded above all, for to suffer it meant that he would lose the essence of a gentleman’s character, independence, and with it the capacity to behave in a truly virtuous way.

Fred Anderson
Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754 - 1766 (2000)