Gilbert Stuart

born Saunderstown, Rhode Island Colony (now North Kingstown, RI) 1755-died Boston, MA 1828
Also known as
  • Gilbert Charles Stuart
Saunderstown, Rhode Island Colony,
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Active in
  • London, England
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Washington, District of Columbia, United States
  • Germantown, Pennsylvania, United States
  • American

Born in Rhode Island, trained in London, worked in the U.S. and the British Isles. An ingenious, insightful, but unusually moneyminded artist whose portraits of George Washington (especially the image appearing on the $1 bill) have become part of the American heritage.

Charles Sullivan, ed American Beauties: Women in Art and Literature (New York: Henry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with National Museum of American Art, 1993)

Artist Biography

Born 3 December 1755, North Kingstown Township, R.I. 1769, first art training with Cosmo Alexander, Newport, R.I.; accompanied him to South Carolina, 1770–71, and Edinburgh, Scotland, 1771. 1773, returned to Newport, began career as a portraitist. Late 1775, settled in London. 1777–82, studied with Benjamin West. Exhibited The Skater at the Royal Academy, 1782; established reputation. 1786, married Charlotte Coates. Late 1787, moved to Dublin, where he became a leading portraitist. 1793, returned to U.S., to New York and Philadelphia (1794), with intention of painting likeness of President Washington (and evading his Irish creditors). 1795–96, painted Washington and established the three "types:" "Vaughan";"Athenaeum"; and "Lansdowne." 1796, moved to Germantown, Pa.; 1803, to Washington, D.C.; 1805, to Boston. Died 9 July 1828, Boston.

William Kloss Treasures from the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985)