Charles Willson Peale

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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-[[Image:peale2.jpg|right|frame|Self Portrait. Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco]] 
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'''Charles Willson Peale'''<ref>This article is based on KKO, "Charles Wilson Peale and His Mueseum", Monticello Research Report, 23 April 1993. </ref> (1741-1827), one of the most gifted of early American artists, was a man of many talents. He studied painting with Benjamin West in London for only two and one half years. Later he pursued a military career during the American Revolution, and served as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly. After retiring from politics in 1780, he dedicated himself to his art and to his boundless interest in natural history. Two years later, he opened an exhibition gallery in [[Philadelphia]], a sky-lighted addition to his studio, where he displayed his portraits of prominent revolutionaries, diplomats, and other significant figures. This unique gallery would expand to become America's first popular museum of natural science and art, comparable in its time to the Smithsonian Institution today. '''Charles Willson Peale'''<ref>This article is based on KKO, "Charles Wilson Peale and His Mueseum", Monticello Research Report, 23 April 1993. </ref> (1741-1827), one of the most gifted of early American artists, was a man of many talents. He studied painting with Benjamin West in London for only two and one half years. Later he pursued a military career during the American Revolution, and served as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly. After retiring from politics in 1780, he dedicated himself to his art and to his boundless interest in natural history. Two years later, he opened an exhibition gallery in [[Philadelphia]], a sky-lighted addition to his studio, where he displayed his portraits of prominent revolutionaries, diplomats, and other significant figures. This unique gallery would expand to become America's first popular museum of natural science and art, comparable in its time to the Smithsonian Institution today.
[[Thomas Jefferson|Jefferson]] and Peale were friends who shared an enthusiasm for natural history, science, exploration and the future. Peale's 1791 life portrait of Jefferson was exhibited in the museum at the time Jefferson was elected president of the museum's Board of Visitors in February, 1792. In a 2 February 1793 letter to George Washington Greene, Jefferson described the museum as "considerable and worthy of encouragement."<ref>[[Short Title List|''PTJ'' 25:135.]]</ref> [[Thomas Jefferson|Jefferson]] and Peale were friends who shared an enthusiasm for natural history, science, exploration and the future. Peale's 1791 life portrait of Jefferson was exhibited in the museum at the time Jefferson was elected president of the museum's Board of Visitors in February, 1792. In a 2 February 1793 letter to George Washington Greene, Jefferson described the museum as "considerable and worthy of encouragement."<ref>[[Short Title List|''PTJ'' 25:135.]]</ref>
-Many of the specimens sent by [[Lewis and Clark Expedition|Lewis and Clark]] from "their wild and perilous expedition" to Jefferson were displayed in Peale's museum, including the Mandan buffalo robe, a live prairie dog and two large, live magpies. Peale was in charge of preserving many of the skins and bones from the expedition, since he was an able taxidermist. He mounted the heads of two bighorn sheep, one for his museum and one for [[Entrance Hall|Monticello]].+Many of the specimens sent by Lewis and Clark from [[Lewis and Clark Expedition|"their wild and perilous expedition"]] to Jefferson were displayed in Peale's museum, including the Mandan buffalo robe, a live prairie dog and two large, live magpies. Peale was in charge of preserving many of the skins and bones from the expedition, since he was an able taxidermist. He mounted the heads of two bighorn sheep, one for his museum and one for [[Entrance Hall|Monticello]].
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== Further Sources == == Further Sources ==
-*[[Short Title List|''ANB'']] 17:193-195.+*[[Short Title List|''ANB'']], 17:193-195.
-*Bush, Alfred. [http://tjportal.monticello.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=3505 ''The Life Portraits of Thomas Jefferson.''] Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1987.+*[Short Title List|Bush, ''Life Portraits'']].
-*Charles Willson Peale Family Papers [http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/peale/papers2.htm http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/peale/papers2.htm]+*Smithsonian Institution. National Portrait Gallery. [http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/peale/papers2.htm Charles Willson Peale Family Papers].
-*[[Short Title List|''PTJ'']]+*[[Short Title List|''PTJ'']].
*Sellers, Charles Coleman. ''Mr. Peale's Museum''. New York: Norton, 1980. *Sellers, Charles Coleman. ''Mr. Peale's Museum''. New York: Norton, 1980.
*Stein, [[Short Title List|''Worlds'']]. *Stein, [[Short Title List|''Worlds'']].

Revision as of 15:16, 6 January 2009

Charles Willson Peale[1] (1741-1827), one of the most gifted of early American artists, was a man of many talents. He studied painting with Benjamin West in London for only two and one half years. Later he pursued a military career during the American Revolution, and served as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly. After retiring from politics in 1780, he dedicated himself to his art and to his boundless interest in natural history. Two years later, he opened an exhibition gallery in Philadelphia, a sky-lighted addition to his studio, where he displayed his portraits of prominent revolutionaries, diplomats, and other significant figures. This unique gallery would expand to become America's first popular museum of natural science and art, comparable in its time to the Smithsonian Institution today.

Jefferson and Peale were friends who shared an enthusiasm for natural history, science, exploration and the future. Peale's 1791 life portrait of Jefferson was exhibited in the museum at the time Jefferson was elected president of the museum's Board of Visitors in February, 1792. In a 2 February 1793 letter to George Washington Greene, Jefferson described the museum as "considerable and worthy of encouragement."[2]

Many of the specimens sent by Lewis and Clark from "their wild and perilous expedition" to Jefferson were displayed in Peale's museum, including the Mandan buffalo robe, a live prairie dog and two large, live magpies. Peale was in charge of preserving many of the skins and bones from the expedition, since he was an able taxidermist. He mounted the heads of two bighorn sheep, one for his museum and one for Monticello.


Footnotes

  1. This article is based on KKO, "Charles Wilson Peale and His Mueseum", Monticello Research Report, 23 April 1993.
  2. PTJ 25:135.

Further Sources

  • ANB, 17:193-195.
  • [Short Title List|Bush, Life Portraits]].
  • Smithsonian Institution. National Portrait Gallery. Charles Willson Peale Family Papers.
  • PTJ.
  • Sellers, Charles Coleman. Mr. Peale's Museum. New York: Norton, 1980.
  • Stein, Worlds.