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  UNUSUAL OIL ON CANVAS PAINTING OF GEORGE WASHINGTON WEARING A RED JACKET, MID-19TH CENTURY
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UNUSUAL OIL ON CANVAS PAINTING OF GEORGE WASHINGTON WEARING A RED COAT, IN THE MANNER OF GILBERT STUART, 1840-70:

Of the hundreds of paintings of George Washington that I have seen in my lifetime, I could not ever recall him shown wearing a red coat. That is why I acquired this stunning example and it's hard to disagree that the difference from the norm is rather dramatic. The pose faces the opposite direction from most, as well, which adds to the contrast.

Then I was alerted by a collector to a seldom-cited portrait of Washington, tucked away in a museum in uptown Manhattan called The Frick Collection. The portrait is by none other than Gilbert Stuart and shows Washington at an advanced age, evidently painted from life in 1795-96 (according to the Frick's dating), also in a red jacket.

This copy isn't exactly a copy at all, because the style of the coat is different, the background is different, and it shows the beloved father of our country at a much younger age, rosy-cheeked and even more youthful that he appears in the far more famous rendition by Stuart that appears on the current U.S. dollar. This is therefore a copy in the manner and spirit of Stuart, combining and modifying his work.

Though the artist who painted Washington here, ca 1840-70, is anonymous, his hand is highly skilled and the work is particularly strong in quality. This makes it not only a potentially great addition to any Washington collection, but also the kind of "one-of" that an Americana collector can buy who's always wanted a Washington portrait, but has never bought one because he/she has been waiting for that one work that is different from the masses seen over the course of any particular year in the antiques marketplace.

Mounting: The work has been placed in a ca 1820-1850 gilded molding with extraordinarily great orange overtones; the best color in gilded American frames.

Condition: Relined. On the original stretcher. The work had previously been cleaned, repaired, and refreshed. Over-painting of the red jacket was too bright (scarlet) and the background color was incorrect (grey). The improper colors were discovered when I had the previous, darkened varnish removed and additional cleaning commenced. The original color of the jacket was more of a vermillion red, as can be seen currently. Furthermore, the background was originally dark umber. The previous restorer either misjudged the original color or took some degree of liberty in refreshing it to the likes of the previous owner. Whatever the case may be, I had it stripped of the old varnish and all of the old over-paint and returned to its proper state.
   
Primary Color: brown, red
Earliest Date: 1830
Latest Date: 1860
For Sale Status: Sold
Price SOLD
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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