William Henry Rinehart

born Union Bridge, MD 1825-died Rome, Italy 1874
Media - 1970.335.25 - SAAM-1970.335.25_1 - 61782
William Henry Rinehart, Self Portrait, 1850 1874, cast and painted plaster relief in metal frame, Smithsonian American Art Museum,Gift of the Peabody Institute 1970.335.25.
Also known as
  • W. H. Rinehart
Union Bridge, Maryland, United States
Rome, Italy
Active in
  • Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • American

When William Henry Rinehart was a boy, he began carving sculptures from stone found in a quarry on his family’s farm. His father caught William carving a portrait of his mother when he was supposed to have been plowing the fields. The elder Rinehart was disappointed to realize that his son had no desire to farm, but surrendered to the inevitable and encouraged William to educate himself in art. In the mid-1840s, Rinehart moved to Baltimore, working as a stonecutter by day and taking art classes at night. The art patron William T. Walters was so impressed with William’s skilled repairs to a mantelpiece that he sponsored the young man’s study in Italy. The artist remained in Europe for most of his life, creating portraits and allegorical works for wealthy Americans who made his studio a stop on their “Grand Tours.”