Charles Willson Peale’s Portrait of Meriwether Lewis

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A portrait of a man.

Charles Willson Peale, Portrait of Meriwether Lewis, 1807, oil on wood panel, 25 x 20 in., Independence National Historic Park Collection, Philadelphia, PA.

About this Artwork

Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark west to explore the new Louisiana Territory in the spring of 1804. Humboldt missed meeting them by a matter of weeks, and peppered Jefferson and the members of the American Philosophical Society with questions about their training and their instruments for measuring longitude, latitude, and altitude. Humboldt wrote about his eagerness to see the maps and journals from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, believing these would make significant contributions to world knowledge about North America. This and Peale’s portrait of William Clark hung along with Humboldt’s in Peale’s Museum.