32 Facts About Gilbert Stuart


Gilbert Charles Stuart was born on Stewart; December 3, 1755 – July 9, 1828 and was an American painter from Rhode Island Colony who is widely considered one of America's foremost portraitists.

FactSnippet No. 466,954

Gilbert Stuart's best-known work is an unfinished portrait of George Washington, begun in 1796, which is sometimes referred to as the Athenaeum Portrait.

FactSnippet No. 466,955

Gilbert Stuart retained the portrait and used it to paint scores of copies that were commissioned by patrons in America and abroad.

FactSnippet No. 466,956

Gilbert Stuart produced portraits of more than 1, 000 people, including the first six Presidents.

FactSnippet No. 466,957

Gilbert Stuart was the third child of Gilbert Stewart, a Scottish immigrant employed in the snuff-making industry, and Elizabeth Anthony Stewart, a member of a prominent land-owning family from Middletown, Rhode Island.

FactSnippet No. 466,958

Gilbert Stuart's father owned the first snuff mill in America, which was located in the basement of the family homestead.

FactSnippet No. 466,959

Gilbert Stuart moved to Newport, Rhode Island at the age of six, where his father pursued work in the merchant field.

FactSnippet No. 466,960

Under the guidance of Alexander, Gilbert Stuart painted the portrait Dr Hunter's Spaniels when he was 14; it hangs today in the Hunter House Mansion in Newport.

FactSnippet No. 466,961

In 1771, Gilbert Stuart moved to Scotland with Alexander to finish his studies; however, Alexander died in Edinburgh one year later.

FactSnippet No. 466,962

Gilbert Stuart tried to maintain a living and pursue his painting career, but to no avail, so he returned to Newport in 1773.

FactSnippet No. 466,963

Gilbert Stuart's painting style during this period began to develop beyond the relatively hard-edged and linear style that he had learned from Alexander.

FactSnippet No. 466,964

Gilbert Stuart was unsuccessful at first in pursuit of his vocation, but he became a protege of Benjamin West in 1777 and studied with him for the next six years.

FactSnippet No. 466,965

The relationship was beneficial, with Gilbert Stuart exhibiting for the first time at the Royal Academy in spring of 1777.

FactSnippet No. 466,966

Christman, it "belied the prevailing opinion that Gilbert Stuart 'made a tolerable likeness of a face, but as to the figure, he could not get below the fifth button'".

FactSnippet No. 466,967

Gilbert Stuart said that he was "suddenly lifted into fame by a single picture".

FactSnippet No. 466,968

Gilbert Stuart ended his 18-year stay in Britain and Ireland in 1793, leaving behind numerous unfinished paintings.

FactSnippet No. 466,969

Gilbert Stuart returned to the United States with a particular goal in mind: to paint a portrait of George Washington, have an engraver reproduce it, and provide for his family by the sale of the engravings.

FactSnippet No. 466,970

Gilbert Stuart settled briefly in New York City and pursued portrait commissions from influential people who could bring him to Washington's attention.

FactSnippet No. 466,971

In 1795, Gilbert Stuart moved to Germantown, Philadelphia where he opened a studio, and Washington posed for him later that year.

FactSnippet No. 466,972

Gilbert Stuart painted Washington in a series of iconic portraits, each of them leading to a demand for copies and keeping him busy and highly paid for years.

FactSnippet No. 466,973

Gilbert Stuart sold up to 70 of his reproductions for a price of $100 each, but the original portrait was left unfinished at the time of his death in 1828.

FactSnippet No. 466,974

Gilbert Stuart moved to Devonshire Street in Boston in 1805, continuing in both critical acclaim and financial troubles.

FactSnippet No. 466,975

Gilbert Stuart exhibited works locally at Doggett's Repository and Julien Hall.

FactSnippet No. 466,976

Gilbert Stuart was sought out for advice by other artists, such as John Trumbull, Thomas Sully, Washington Allston, and John Vanderlyn.

FactSnippet No. 466,977

Gilbert Stuart's sold many of his paintings and her replicas of them from her studios in Boston and Newport, Rhode Island.

FactSnippet No. 466,978

Gilbert Stuart was buried in the Old South Burial Ground of the Boston Common.

FactSnippet No. 466,979

Gilbert Stuart left his family deeply in debt, and his wife and daughters were unable to purchase a grave site.

FactSnippet No. 466,980

Gilbert Stuart was, therefore, buried in an unmarked grave which was purchased cheaply from Benjamin Howland, a local carpenter.

FactSnippet No. 466,981

Gilbert Stuart's family recovered from their financial troubles 10 years later, and they planned to move his body to a family cemetery in Newport.

FactSnippet No. 466,982

Gilbert Stuart was praised for the vitality and naturalness of his portraits, and his subjects found his company agreeable.

FactSnippet No. 466,983

Gilbert Stuart was known for working without the aid of sketches, beginning directly upon the canvas, which was very unusual for the time period.

FactSnippet No. 466,984

Gilbert Stuart's approach is suggested by the advice which he gave to his pupil Matthew Harris Jouett: "Never be sparing of colour, load your pictures, but keep your colours as separate as you can.

FactSnippet No. 466,985