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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 18th century: Matilda Davis Williams

Christian Gullager

(born Copenhagen, Denmark 1759 -- died Philadelphia, PA 1826)

Christian Gullager grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark, the son of a government official’s servant. The official was an avid collector of prints and probably helped Gullager enter the Danish Royal Academy, where the aspiring artist won a “little” silver medal in 1780. Gullager came to America a few years later, living first in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and then in Boston. He painted many portraits of wealthy Americans, including one of George Washington, whom he sketched from life in 1789.