"Gilbert Stuart": An Introduction to the Exhibition
Ellen G. Miles, curator of painting and sculpture, National Portrait Gallery. Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) was the most successful portraitist of early America. Known for his renderings of the most famous American men and women of the era, including George Washington and John Adams, Stuart painted nearly 1,000 portraits over the course of his 50-year career. In this lecture recorded on April 3, 2005, Ellen G. Miles, cocurator of the exhibition Gilbert Stuart, illustrates the artist's career through documents of his sitters and business partners. The exhibition, which was on view from March 27 to July 31, 2005, presented 91 exceptional works that showcase Stuart's mastery of 18th-century English portraiture, revealing the paintings' elegant, refined beauty and historical importance. Of the Gallery's unequaled collection of 43 paintings by Stuart, 16 were conserved in 2012 through a Bank of America Art Conservation Project Grant.