How an Unfinished Portrait of Washington Ended Up on the Dollar Bill
Gift of Mrs. Nicholas H. Noyes
Gilbert Stuart is considered one of the most successful American portrait painters of the 18th century. He received many commissions and worked prolifically, making more than 1,100 portraits over the course of his career. He received guidance from Benjamin West and Cosmo Alexander as part of his training, and admired the work of John Singleton Copley. Stuart staunchly believed that a successful portrait not only recorded a sitter’s likeness, but also interpreted his or her character through its formal qualities. He was also a pioneer in bringing the brushy style of English portraiture to the United States. Stuart’s more famous patrons included James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. He was perhaps most famous for his many portraits of George Washington, one of which would be printed on the dollar bill in 1869.
American, 1755-1828, North Kingston, RI, United States, based in Boston, MA, United States