National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of George Washington (Vaughan portrait) Gilbert Stuart (painter)
American, 1755 - 1828
George Washington (Vaughan portrait), 1795
oil on canvas
overall: 73 x 60.5 cm (28 3/4 x 23 13/16 in.) framed: 100.3 x 87.3 cm (39 1/2 x 34 3/8 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
Not on View
From the Tour: Gilbert Stuart
Object 3 of 5


Purchased by John Vaughan, Philadelphia, for his father, Samuel Vaughan [1720-1802], London; his son, William Vaughan [1752-1850], London;[1] purchased around 1851 by Joseph Harrison, Jr. [1810-1874], Philadelphia;[2] his widow, Sarah Poulterer Harrison [1817-1906]; sold (M. Thomas and Sons, Philadelphia, 12 March 1912, no. 30) to Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York;[3] his estate; sold as part of the Clarke collection on 29 January 1936, through (M. Knoedler & Co., New York), to The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1942 to NGA.

[1] Frederic Fairchild Sherman, "Gilbert Stuart's First Portrait of Washington from Life: The Vaughan Picture Painted in 1975," Art in America" 11, no. 1 (December 1922), 44; John Hill Morgan and Mantle Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington and their Replicas, Philadelphia, 1931, 250. On Vaughan see Memoir of William Vaughan, Esq. F.R.S., London, 1839.

[2] The painting was "purchased from the late Wm. Vaughan, Esq., London," according to Catalogue of Pictures, Statuary, and Bronzes in the Gallery of Joseph Harrison, Jr., Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, 1870, 6. According to Portraits by Early American Artists of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries Collected by Thomas B. Clarke, Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928 (unpaginated), Harrison bought the portrait in 1851 from the Vaughan family. On Harrison see Nicolas B. Wainwright, "Joseph Harrison Jr., a forgotten art collector," Antiques 102, no. 4 (October 1972), 661, who says that Harrison bought Joseph Wright's portrait of Benjamin Franklin, now at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, from the same source, which he does not identify. A search of Harrison's letterbooks at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania did not yield further documentation of the purchase.

[3] Philadelphia Art Galleries, Paintings, Statuary, etc. The Remainder of the Collection of the Late Joseph Harrison, Jr., Philadelphia, 1912, 31; the auction was scheduled for 26 February 1912 but was postponed to 12 March. The paid invoice dated 12 March 1912 is in the NGA archives (copy, NGA curatorial file). The name of the seller, date of purchase, and price are recorded in a copy of the 1928 Clarke exhibition catalogue annotated with information from files of M. Knoedler & Co., NY (copy in NGA curatorial records and in NGA library) and in "Paintings Sold at Auction, October 1911-October 1912," American Art Annual 10 (1913), 65, where the portrait is reproduced opp. 19.

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