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A full length portrait of George Washington standing in a landscape with soldiers

In front of a tent at right, and a small folding table with written documents, George Washington stands facing us and looking directly at us with a confident expression. His gray hair pulled back, he wears a blue coat with gold epaulets, a white ruffled shirt and pale yellow waistcoat and breeches, and the handle of a sword is visible at his side. At left in the middle distance, three soldiers in tricorn hats march away from us down a hillside path, while in the far distance, a horse and rider lead an army away from a river bank.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Charles Willson Peale, American (Chester, Queen Anne's County, MD 1741 - 1827 Philadelphia, PA)
George Washington (1732-1799)
Work Type
Creation Place: North America, United States
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2240, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, The Arts in the Eighteenth–Century Atlantic World
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
241.3 x 145.7 cm (95 x 57 3/8 in.)
framed: 257.5 x 161 x 12.1 cm (101 3/8 x 63 3/8 x 4 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: l.l.: WASHINGTON; on document on the table, c.r.: York Virginia October 17 1781/ Articles of Capitulation drawn up/ between His Excellency General/ Washington Commander in chief of the combined forces of/ America and…


Recorded Ownership History
Commissioned by Gov. Benjamin Harrison for the Virginia Legislature, 1784; Thomas Jefferson, Paris, 1785; Vicomte de Noailles, by descent to great-grandson, Duc de Mouchy, sold; to Jonce J. McGurk, New York, 1930. [Martin Birnbaum] sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, October 1942, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art


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Publication History

  • Sherwin McRae, Washington: His Person as Represented by the Artists. The Houdon Statue, Its History and Value., R. F. Walker (Virginia, 1873)
  • Elizabeth Bryant Johnston, Original Portraits of Washington, Including Statues, Monuments and Medals, J. R. Osgood and Co. (Boston, MA, 1882), pp.13-14
  • Charles Henry Hart and Edward Biddle, Memoirs of the life and works of Jean Antoine Houdon, the sculptor of Voltaire and of Washington, De Vinne Press, New York (Philadelphia, PA, 1911), pp. 184-185
  • John Hill Morgan and Mantle Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington and their Replicas, Lancaster Press, Inc. (Lancaster, PA, 1931), pp. 36-37, no. 30
  • Gustavus A. Eisen, Portraits of Washington, R. Hamilton & Associates (New York, 1932), vol. II, pp. 366, 418
  • [Reproduction only], "A Special Number Devoted to the Grenville Lindall Winthrop Bequest", Bulletin of the Fogg Museum of Art, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, November 1943)., ill. p. 64
  • Washington, Lafayette, Franklin: Portraits, Books, Manuscripts, Prints, Memorabilia, for the Most Part from the Collections of the University, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1944), pp. 7-10, cat. 2, ill.
  • Charles Coleman Sellers, "Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale", Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (1952), vol. 42, pt. 1, pp. 236-237, no. 936, fig. 360
  • Dorothy W. Gillerman, ed., Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, 1969), p. 238
  • Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, Peter G. Huenink, Earl A. Powell III, Harry Z. Rand, and Nanette C. Sexton, American Art at Harvard, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1972), cat. 15, ill.
  • Louise Todd Ambler, Benjamin Franklin: A Perspective, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1975), pp. 93, 139-140, no. 80, ill. p. 93
  • John S. Hallam, "Charles Willson Peale and Hogarth's line of beauty", The Magazine Antiques (New York, November 1982), vol. CXXII, no 5, pp. 1074-1079, pp. 1076-1077, fig. 9
  • Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), p. 46
  • Teresa A. Carbone, American Paintings in the Brooklyn Museum: Artists Born by 1876, Brooklyn Museum (New York, 2006), p. 843
  • Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), ill. p. 125
  • Thomas W. Lentz, ed., Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2006-7, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, 2008), p. 18
  • Anthony Grafton, Glenn W. Most, and Salvatore Settis, ed., The Classical Tradition, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 2010), fig. 60
  • Maurie D. McInnis, "Revisiting Cincinnatus: Houdon's George Washington", ed. Maurie D. McInnis and Louis P. Nelson, University of Virginia Press (Charlottesville, VA, 2011), pp. 131-132, ill. p. 133
  • Judy Murray and Ray Williams, Engaging New Americans, Preparing for US Citizenship with the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2012), ill. p. 16
  • Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press (U.S.) and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), pp. 28, 386-88, cat. 350, ill.
  • Murray Whyte, "A History of Slavery, Vivdly Alive in the Present at Harvard", The Boston Globe (March 17, 2019), pp. N1, N6, p. N6

Exhibition History

  • Washington Lafayette Franklin, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 02/22/1944 - 05/28/1944
  • The American Spirit in Portraiture, 1675 - 1900, Fogg Art Museum, 01/19/1951 - 02/24/1951
  • American Art at Harvard, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/19/1972 - 06/18/1972
  • Benjamin Franklin: A Perspective, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/17/1975 - 09/22/1975
  • Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977
  • 32Q: 2240 18th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Collection Highlights
  • Google Art Project

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Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at