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A fascinating new look at the portraits and career of Gilbert Stuart, whose fame is closely aligned to his incisive images of George Washington The most successful and resourceful portraitist of America's early national period, Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) possessed enormous natural talent, bringing his witty and irascible manner to bear on each of his works. This handsome book highlights Stuart's achievements by presenting more than ninety portraits of exceptional quality, ranging from the early works he produced in Newport, Rhode Island, to those he executed just before his death in Boston.
Carrie Rebora Barratt and Ellen G. Miles show how Stuart developed and maintained a distinctive portrait style, tailoring his portrayals to fit his subjects. They trace the development of his art from his hometown of Newport, where he proved his talent, to his years in London and Dublin, where he mastered the techniques of the English late-eighteenth-century Grand Manner, to his return to America (no longer the Colonies but now the United States), where he dealt with clients in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Boston. The authors provide a short essay about Stuart in each of the sites of his production, which introduces the works painted there. There is also a special section devoted to Stuart's famous and popular portraits of Washington, the so-called Vaughan, Athenaeum, and Lansdowne portraits. These works are discussed in terms of patronage, technique, chronology, and interpretation.
The most comprehensive book on the artist's work to date, Gilbert Stuart is essential for anyone who admires American art and history. This book is the catalogue for an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (October 18, 2004 to February 27, 2005) and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (April 10 to July 31, 2005), the first major show of Gilbert Stuart portraits since 1967.