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.

The Federalists of the 1780s had a glimpse of what America was to become — a scrambling business society dominated by the pecuniary interests of ordinary people — and they did not like what they saw. This premonition of America’s future lay behind their sense of crisis and their horrified hyperbolic rhetoric. The wholesale pursuits of private interest and private luxury were, they thought, undermining America’s capacity for republican government. They designed the Constitution in order to save American republicanism from the deadly effects of the private pursuits of happiness.

Gordon S. Wood
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011)