Gilbert Stuart, American, George Washington, c. 1795. Oil on canvas. Harvard University Portrait Collection, Gift of Sidney F. Tyler to the University, 1969, H631.
Gallery Text

Stuart created more than a hundred portraits of George Washington. Scholars group them into three types, named for their original owners: the unfinished “[Boston] Athenaeum” portraits, showing the left side of Washington’s face (such as the image on the U.S. dollar); the Samuel “Vaughan” portraits, which show the right side of Washington’s face; and the full-length “Lansdowne” portraits. In this example of the Vaughan type, the second-term president looks majestic and vigorous in his advanced years. He is positioned in three-quarter profile against a sweeping curtain that symbolizes state authority. His hair, styled in what’s called a soldier’s queue and tied with a sawtooth bow, appears freshly cut and powdered. The upturned collar of his velvet suitcoat projects height and wealth. The portrait represents Washington as an august actor on the world stage and suggests how gender, race, and visual scale can engage and inform ideologies of power.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Gilbert Stuart, American (North Kingstown, RI 1755 - 1828 Boston, MA)
George Washington (1732 - 1799)
George Washington (1732-1799)
Other Titles
Former Title: George Washington-- "Vaughan" type
Former Title: The Fisher Family Portrait
Former Title: The Fisher-Tyler Portrait
Work Type
c. 1795
Creation Place: North America, United States
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
73.7 x 61 cm (29 x 24 in.)
framed: 92.7 x 79.4 x 7.6 cm (36 1/2 x 31 1/4 x 3 in.)
Fisher Family, Philadelphia, 1796, sold; to Mrs. George F. Tyler, Philadelphia, 1921, by descent; to Sydney F. Tyler, Carbondale, CO, gift; to Harvard University, 1969.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard University Portrait Collection, Gift of Sidney F. Tyler to the University, 1969
Object Number
European and American Art
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Vaughan Type
Publication History

Mantle Fielding, Gilbert Stuart's Portraits of Washington (1923), no. 6, ill. opp. p. 39

Lawrence Park, Gilbert Stuart: An lllustrated Descriptive List of His Works, vol. I - IV, W. E. Rudge (New York, NY, 1926), vol. II, pp. 848-49, no. 6

John Hill Morgan and Mantle Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington and their Replicas, Lancaster Press, Inc. (Lancaster, PA, 1931), p. 253, no. 6, ill. opp. p. 256

Charles Merrill Mount, Gilbert Stuart: A Biography, W. W. Norton & Company (New York, NY, 1964), p. 378

The Frick Collection: An Illustrated Catalogue. Volume I: Paintings: American, British, Dutch, Flemish, and German, The Frick Collection (New York, 1968), p. 4

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. 23, ill.

Dorinda Evans, Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art, Bicentennial Exhibition, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, 1976), pp. 170-171

Timothy Anglin Burgard, American Art at Harvard: Cultures and Contexts, brochure, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1994), pp. 2, 10, cat. 2

Carrie Rebora Barratt and Ellen G. Miles, Gilbert Stuart, exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art / Yale University Press (New York, 2004), pp. 141-142, ill. p. 142, fig. 86

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. 33, 398, 448-50, cat. 415, ill.

Exhibition History

American Art at Harvard, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/19/1972 - 06/18/1972

Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art, Bicentennial Exhibition, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 04/09/1976 - 10/10/1976

American Art at Harvard: Cultures and Contexts, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/01/1994 - 12/30/1994

32Q: 2200 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 11/14/2022

Related Works

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