Happy Birthday Gilbert Stuart
Gilbert Stuart was one of 18th century America’s master portrait artists. Stuart is best known for his portrait of George Washington, which has been the identifiable image on the U.S. dollar bill for over a century. This image has also appeared on U.S. postage stamps.
Gilbert Stuart was born on December 3rd, 1755, in Saunderstown, Rhode Island. He was the third child of a Scottish immigrant. Stuart’s father, in a joint venture with two other local businessmen, established the first snuff mill in the colonies. Stuart lived at the birthplace until he was seven years old, when his family moved to Newport, Rhode Island. It was while living in Newport that Gilbert first showed promise as a great painter.
In his early teenage years, Gilbert traveled to London to study painting while apprenticed to the great American artist Benjamin West and later as a student of Joshua Reynolds. On his return from London, Stuart lived in Philadelphia, New York, And Washington D.C., earning a reputation as a fine portrait artist. During his lifetime, Gilbert painted over a thousand portraits. They included Presidents Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe as well as war heroes and many other socially prominent men and women.
Gilbert Stuart eventually settled in Boston, Massachusetts where he died on July 9th, 1828 at the age of 72.