George Smith Patton Jr., 11 Nov 1885 - 21 Dec 1945
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 127 x 103.2cm (50 x 40 5/8")
Frame: 149.2 x 121.9 x 7cm (58 3/4 x 48 x 2 3/4")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Major General George S. Patton, U.S.A., Retired, and the Patton Family; Frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Nicknamed "Old Blood and Guts," General George Patton Jr. had a penchant for harsh, bluntly spoken opinions that sometimes made him the object of controversy during World War II. There was, however, no debating his soldiering abilities. In the Allied drive against Axis armies in North Africa, his gift for instilling frontline discipline was critical in shaping unseasoned American soldiers into effective fighting units. His leadership proved crucial again in the invasion of Sicily, but his finest moment came during the massive German counteroffensive in northern Europe's Ardennes region in 1944-45. His part in repelling the Germans there placed beyond challenge his reputation as one of the most brilliant field commanders of the war.
The inExhibition scription in the portrait's upper left corner was from Patton's declaration of May 9, 1945, telling his soldiers what an honor it had been to lead them.
The sitter; his son George S. Patton, South Hamilton, Mass.; gift 1999 to NPG