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George Washington, Study for Washington Crossing the Delaware

Emanuel Leutze1850

National Academy of Design

National Academy of Design
New York, United States

In his autobiography, the landscape painter Worthington Whittredge reported that Emanuel Leutze used Jean-Antoine Houdon's bust of George Washington as the source for the first President's portrait in his famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851, The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Houdon's sculpture was considered one of the finest likenesses of Washington, and was frequently employed by artists for similar purposes. Copies and casts of Houdon's bust were readily available during the mid-nineteenth century in the United States and Europe. This original oil sketch was presented to the National Academy by the artist in 1860 when he was elected an Academician. Leutze was strong advocate of the Academy and served on the Council for the 1865-1866 term.

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