George Edwin Bissell, born New Preston, CT 1839-died Mount Vernon, NY 1920
John Watts De Peyster
modeled ca. 1897
11 7/8 x 7 1/8 x 6 in. (30.2 x 18.1 x 15.2 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Watts De Peyster
Restrictions & Rights
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General John Watts De Peyster, who had inherited large tracts of land in New York City, was George Bissell’s most important early patron. De Peyster’s military interests led him to join the New York Militia and he rose to the rank of major general in the National Guard. During this time, the slender, scholarly soldier wrote several books, including a biography of Napoleon. One of De Peyster’s most lasting contributions was his help in organizing the New York City police and fire departments. Bissell honored his seventy-six-year-old patron as a dignified and stoic man whose wrinkled forehead and tired eyes suggest the wisdom of his age.