Specializing in portraits of personalities at the time of the emancipation of America, CW Peale obtained a sitting session by Washington as early as 1772 and worked six additional times with the Independence hero. A full length standing portrait of the general in Princeton 244 x 157 cm painted in 1779 was sold for $ 21,3M including premium by Christie's on January 21, 2006.
The boy Rembrandt had a promising skill. At age nine, he was introduced to Washington by his father. In 1795 it is the consecration for him. Aged 17, he gets in his own right the acceptance of the President for three sessions of 3 hours each.
It is easy to understand the intimidation of the young Rembrandt before the 63 years old iconic figure. He sees the general older than he actually is and his realistic and dignified portrait is much welcomed.
In 1822, Rembrandt wants to restart his career in New York where he introduces himself as an authentic witness and somehow the depositary of the true figure of the late first President of the United States. He is preparing in 1824 a portrait which will be purchased by the Congress ten years later.
He conceives in 1823 an epic portrait starring the general before Yorktown, on horseback surrounded by his officers. An oil on canvas 92 x 74 cm is shown to the government as the original study of the project but no one wants to commit to the large size version that is not yet started.
This first painting is estimated $ 2M for sale by Christie's in New York on May 21, lot 34.
The only other piece executed on this model is the final version 363 x 307 cm achieved by Rembrandt at his own expense and rejected by the Congress in 1825.