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George Washington

Artist
Edward Savage, 26 Nov 1761 - 6 Jul 1817
Sitter
George Washington, 22 Feb 1732 - 14 Dec 1799
Date
1793
Type
Print
Medium
Mezzotint on paper
Dimensions
Sheet: 52.2 × 38.4 cm (20 9/16 × 15 1/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.70.10
Exhibition Label
Born Westmoreland County, Virginia
Edward Savage’s mezzotint engraving portrays George Washington as the nation’s president rather than as a general: he wears a black velvet suit and not a military uniform. In his hand is a plan of the new capital city named in his honor. While in London, Savage adapted the pose of this elegant print from one of his own paintings. Washington’s face, however, was based on an earlier portrait that Savage had painted from life between 1789, the year he was inaugurated as president, and 1790. The caption at the bottom of this print refers to the latter work. On October 6, 1793, Savage sent his subject an impression of this mezzotint, along with a portrait print he had made of Benjamin Franklin. In the accompanying letter, the artist expressed his hope that “it will meet with the approbation of yourself and Mrs. Washington as it is the first I ever published in that method of Engraving.”
El grabado a la mezzotinta de Edward Savage repre- senta a George Washington como el Presidente de la Nación en lugar de como general, lleva puesto un traje de terciopelo negro y no un uniforme militar. En la mano sostiene un plano de la nueva capital, bautizada en su honor. Mientras se encontraba en Londres, Savage adaptó la pose de este elegante grabado para una de sus propias pinturas. Sin embargo, el rostro de Washington se basó en un retrato más temprano que Savage había pintado del natural entre 1789, el año en que Washington fue investido como presidente, y 1890. La cita hace referencia a la segunda obra. El 6 de octubre de 1793, Savage envió a su modelo una impresión de esta mezzotinta, junto con un retrato grabado que había realizado de Benjamin Franklin. En la carta acompañante, el artista expresaba su esperanza de que la obra “contará con su aprobación, así como con la de la Sra. Washington, ya que fue la primera que hice con este método de grabado”.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
America's Presidents (Reinstallation September 2017)
On View
NPG, South Gallery 240