DAILY ART FIX: Why the Iconic Athenaeum Portrait of Washington was Never Finished

Art world links which caught my eye…

Gilbert Stuart “George Washington (The Athenaeum Portrait)” April 12, 1796. Oil on canvas. 47.99 x 37 in.

The portrait is right on the money, as they say-literally. Gilbert Stuart’s painting of 65 year old George Washington is the basis of the dollar bill portrayal. As such it has become how we picture George Washington. It has been suggested the President was looking extra stern in it, perhaps due to problems with his dentures, or frustrations with the artist and the posing. Stuart did end up doing a tricky thing:

Washington agreed to sit for Stuart, however, the artist did not want to give up this new portrait because he knew that he could use it as a model for future commissions. Stuart purposely left the work unfinished and began to create and sell copies.

He reportedly called these copies his “hundred dollar bills” after the price he charged for them. It is believed that Stuart ultimately copied 130 portraits from the unfinished work commissioned by Martha Washington. Of those, around sixty survive today.

Read the full article here: ART & OBJECT – Why the Iconic Athenaeum Portrait of Washington was Never Finished


RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization:

Remodernism is not a style of art, it is a form of motivation. We express the universal language of inspired humanity.

We do not imitate what came before. We find in ourselves the same divine essence of love and excitement which has inspired masterpieces throughout history. We are strengthened by drawing on traditions thousands of years old.

We integrate the bold, visionary efforts of the Modern era into a holistic, meaningful expression of contemporary life. Remodernism seeks a humble maturity which heals the fragmentation and contradictions of Modernism, and obliterates the narcissistic lies of Postmodernism.

Remodernism is the return of art as a revelation.


I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.


Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

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