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Martha Washington

Artist
Rembrandt Peale, 22 Feb 1778 - 3 Oct 1860
Sitter
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, 2 Jun 1731 - 22 May 1802
Date
c. 1853
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Sight (Verified): 89.5 x 71.8cm (35 1/4 x 28 1/4")
Frame (Verified): 117.2 x 99.7 x 10.6cm (46 1/8 x 39 1/4 x 4 3/16")
Stretcher: 91.8 × 74.3 × 2.9 cm (36 1/8 × 29 1/4 × 1 1/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of an anonymous donor
Object number
NPG.75.3
Exhibition Label
Born New Kent County, Virginia In 1749, Martha Dandridge married Daniel Parke Custis, the wealthiest planter in the colony. Seven years and four children later, she was a very wealthy widow. She married George Washington in 1759, pulling him upward in Virginia’s social and economic strata. She also brought to the marriage 84 enslaved people, who, as part of the Custis estate, would not be freed when George Washington freed his own slaves at the end of his life. Martha Washington was influential in setting the atmosphere and tone of her husband’s presidency, which was important to the new republic. Rembrandt Peale based this work on a portrait of 1795 by his father, Charles Willson Peale, adding a “porthole” as he had in his George Washington, on view across the room.
Nacida en New Kent County, Virginia En 1749, Martha Dandridge se casó con Daniel Parke Custis, el hacendado más rico de la colonia. Siete años y cuatro hijos después, era una viuda acaudalada. Se casó con George Washington en 1759 y lo ayudó a ascender en la escala social y económica de Virginia. También aportó al matrimonio 84 esclavos que, como eran parte de la herencia de Custis, no fueron liberados cuando George Washington liberó a los suyos al final de su vida. Martha Washington influyó en sentar el tono de la presidencia de su esposo, lo cual fue importante para la nueva república. Rembrandt Peale basó este retrato en el que su padre (Charles Willson Peale) realizó en 1795, pero añadió una “claraboya”, igual que con su retrato de George Washington, expuesto a otro lado de la sala.
Provenance
Provenance: Hanson K. Corning, New York; Ephraim L. Corning, Geneva, Switzerland; Hanson K. Corning; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, subject to life interest in the donor’s niece Marguerite D. Velay [Mrs. Maxime Velay]; The Metropolitan Museum; sold 1975 to NPG
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