Major General John Watts De Peyster

Copied George Edwin Bissell, Major General John Watts De Peyster, modeled ca. 1897, bronze, 11 787 186 in. ( cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Watts De Peyster, XX79
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Artwork Details

Major General John Watts De Peyster
modeled ca. 1897
11 787 186 in. ( cm)
Credit Line
Gift of John Watts De Peyster
Mediums Description
  • Occupation — military — major general
  • Portrait male — De Peyster, John Watts — bust
Object Number

Artwork Description

General John Watts De Peyster, who had inherited large tracts of land in New York City, was George Bissell’s most important early patron. De Peyster’s military interests led him to join the New York Militia and he rose to the rank of major general in the National Guard. During this time, the slender, scholarly soldier wrote several books, including a biography of Napoleon. One of De Peyster’s most lasting contributions was his help in organizing the New York City police and fire departments. Bissell honored his seventy-six-year-old patron as a dignified and stoic man whose wrinkled forehead and tired eyes suggest the wisdom of his age.