An eloquent new look at the beginnings of the American republic--through the portraits of its first icon, George Washington, and the painters who defined him. ""I am so hackneyed to the touches of the painters pencil, that I am now altogether at their beck...no dray moves more readily to the Thill, than I do to the Painters Chair."--George ...
An eloquent new look at the beginnings of the American republic--through the portraits of its first icon, George Washington, and the painters who defined him. ""I am so hackneyed to the touches of the painters pencil, that I am now altogether at their beck...no dray moves more readily to the Thill, than I do to the Painters Chair."--George Washington, May 16, 1785 "When George Washington was born, the New World had virtually no artists. Over the course of his life and career, a cultural transformation would occur. Virtually everyone regarded Washington as America's indispensable man, and the early painters and sculptors were no exception. Hugh Howard brings to life the founding fathers of American painting, and the elusive Washington himself, through the history of their portraits. We meet Charles Willson Peale, the comrade-in-arms; John Trumbull, the aristocrat; Benjamin West, the mentor; and Gilbert Stuart, the brilliant wastrel and most gifted painter of his day. Howard's narrative traces Washington's interaction with these and other artists, while offering a fresh and intimate portrait of the first president. "The Painter's Chair "is an engaging narrative of how America's first painters toiled to create an art worthy of the new republic, and of the hero whom they turned into an icon.
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-11-17 Patron of the arts is not the first association one makes with George Washington, but Howard elegantly makes the case that the founder of the nation also helped establish America's art. Though architecture, not painting, was Washington's preferred art, America's first prominent artists painted him: Charles Willson Peale, John Trumbull, Benjamin West and Gilbert Stuart, the most distinguished American painter of the period. Washington, who Howard argues was "easier to see and admire than to understand," is subtly revealed in a narrative that is precisely paced and elegantly composed. Howard (Dr. Kimball and Mr. Jefferson) illuminates Washington as an eminent patron of emerging American artists, who "fostered nothing less than the birth of American painting." He also insightfully documents how Washington's evolving public image and often inscrutable character were diversely revealed by some of the most eminent visual artists of the 18th century, many of whose images propelled Washington's iconic status. This perspective will interest scholars of Washington and of early American art, as well as general readers seeking a refreshing angle on Washington and art in America. 8 pages of color photos. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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