Gilbert Stuart Biography | Oil Paintings.

12-3-1755 Saunderstown, Rhode Island USA - 7-9-1828 Boston, MA USA

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Stuart, Gilbert

Gilbert Stuart (the painter) began to show great artistic promise at a very early age, and in 1770, when he was fourteen years old, he made the acquaintance of Scottish visiting artist Cosmo Alexander, who painted portraits and who taught Stuart, and under Alexander's the guidance, Stuart painted the pet portrait Dr. Hunter's Spaniels.

In 1771 when Alexander returned to Scotland, Gilbert Stuart went with him to finish his studies, unfortunately, Alexander died in Edinburgh the following year. Stuart tried to make a living pursuing his painting career but without much success, so in 1773 he returned to Newport. Because of the onset of the American Revolution and the social disruptions it caused to Stuart's possible patrons, his prospects as a portrait painter at this time were dim.

Stuart left the colony's and sailed for England in 1775. Unsuccessful at first in the quest for his livelihood, Stuart needed more training and finishing, so he at that point became a student of Benjamin West and studied with him for the next six years. By 1777, Stewart exhibited at the Royal Academy, and by 1782 Gilbert Stuart oil painting The Skater, a portrait of William Grant had finally met with success. During his eighteen year stay in England, at one point, only the eminent English artists Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough prices exceeded those of Stuart's oil paintings. Despite his many portrait commissions, Gilbert Stuart was routinely careless with his funds and was in danger of being sent to debtors' prison.

Gilbert Stuart ended his long stay in England in 1793 returning to the United States to settle briefly in New York City, abandoning numerous unfinished paintings behind. In 1795 he moved to Germantown, Pennsylvania, where he opened an art studio. It was here that he would gain lasting fame with portraits of many important Americans of the day and a foothold in the art world.

Gilbert Stuart painted George Washington in a series of now iconic portraits, each of them leading in turn to a demand for more reproductions, keeping Stuart occupied and generously compensated for quite a long time. The most famous and celebrated of these likenesses, known as Portrait Of George Washington, The Athenaeum, painted in 1796 is currently on the American one dollar bill. Stuart never finished the original painting, painting only Washington's face, and he kept the original version to make 130 reproductions of The Athenaeum.

He sold up to 70 of his copies for a price of US$100 each, (equivalent to US$1,800 today), the original portrait was never finished when Gilbert Stuart died in 1828. This painting was jointly purchased by the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1980, and as of 2014 was on display in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Gilbert Stuart moved from Pennsylvania to Boston in 1805, he was critically acclaimed and famous yet still in financial troubles because of his poor handling of money. In 1824 he suffered a stroke, which left him partially paralyzed, two years before his death yet he continued to paint until the end. Stuart left his family deeply in debt, his wife and daughters did not have the money to purchase a gravesite, therefore he was buried in a cheap unmarked grave. Ten years later, when the family recovered from their financial troubles, helped by his daughter, Jane Stuart, also a painter, who sold many of Gilbert Stuart paintings and her own replicas of them, his family could not remember the location of Gilbert Stuart's grave, so it was never moved to the family cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island.

Art Movement: Neoclassicism Art.
Artists Influencing Gilbert Stuart: Cosmo Alexander, Benjamin West.
He Traveled To Scotland, England, Ireland.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.

Gilbert Stuart Hand-Painted Oil Painting Reproductions.

Gilbert Stuart Museum Art Replicas on Canvas.

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