Martha Washington commissioned Gilbert Stuart for portraits of herself and her husband in 1796. Although George Washington's jaw and mouth look stiff and uncomfortable due to a new set of ill-fitting dentures, Stuart was so satisfied with the resulting likeness that he kept the unfinished canvases as sources for his many replicas. He painted approximately 75 of George Washington, including this extremely fine example, each with slight variations. Despite repeated requests from Martha Washington and Tobias Lear for the originals, Stuart's original portraits of our nation's first couple never made it to Mount Vernon. Today, the original, or “Athenaeum” portrait is owned jointly by the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The work is arguably the most recognized image of George Washington, as a version of it appears on the U.S. one-dollar bill. More


c. 1798




Oil on canvas; gilt wood frame


Overall (Canvas): 29 3/16 in. × 24 in. × 1 3/16 in. (74.14 cm × 60.96 cm × 3.02 cm)
Other (frame): 35 13/16 in. x 30 5/8 in. (90.96 cm x 77.79 cm)
Other (frame molding width): 3 3/4 in. (9.53 cm)


Gift of Caroline H. Richardson, 1904

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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