Maskell Ewing

Maskell Ewing

Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827)


Oil on canvas

Sewell C. Biggs bequest; 2004.438

Charles Willson Peale, one of America’s first famous portrait painters, studied with Benjamin West (1738–1820) in London for two years. It was during this time that the European neoclassical interest in realism—a precise and almost scientific depiction of the natural world—seems to have influenced him. While a prolific painter in Philadelphia, the artist also fathered seventeen children, many of whom he trained, along with several nieces and nephews, to be professional artists.