This portrait of George Washington was likely made in 1795 by Swedish painter Wertmüller, a talented academician who had been appointed “First Painter” of the Swedish King. This depiction of Washington, with its exceedingly direct gaze, conveys an unusual sense of vitality not found in other portraits of the period. Of six Washington canvases the artist produced, two of them--including this work--remained unfinished, and three were in the artist’s possession at the time of his death. While the demand for contemporary Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of Washington was enormous, Wertmüller’s paintings were perhaps considered too academic and European to be fashionable. Rembrandt Peale (who also painted the president) described Wertmüller’s canvas as “dark in the coloring,” with a “German aspect." More


c. 1795




Oil on canvas; gilt wood frame


Overall (Canvas): 32 5/8 in. × 27 1/4 in. × 3 in. (82.87 cm × 69.22 cm × 7.62 cm)
Other (Canvas): 24 1/2 in. × 19 7/8 in. (62.23 cm × 50.48 cm)


Purchased by the Connoisseur Society of Mount Vernon, 2011

Object Number



Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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