One of two posts on the American Art Museum & the National Portrait Gallery.
Situated in the Penn Quarter, the museum is placed in the former Patent Office Building in the Greek style. In the 1950s this building was in danger of being pulled down to give way to a parking lot, but fortunately, Congress gave it to the Smithsonian Institute. It’s free to visit as all the Smithsonian Museums in D.C. and a place showing the rich American history.
When all the other Smithsonian Museums are closed, this museum is open until 7 pm and has a lovely café, which is essential when you want to manage to see the sights. We went twice to the museum, and that will make two blog posts to share a few of the themes of this museum.
Centrally placed are the portraits of all the Presidents of the United States. The texts are excerpts from the descriptions to the paintings at the museum.
The first five American Presidents
George Washington (1732-1799) First President 1789-1797. By American artist Gilbert Stuart, 1796. The pose is believed to allude to Washington’s annual address in Congress 1795
John Adams painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1826. The second President of the United States 1797-1801. A leader of the American Revolution and a Founding Father
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). Third President of the United States 1801-1809). T. J. authored the Declaration of Independence and served his country as a statesman, diplomat and president. He expanded the United States by doubling the size by purchasing Louisiana. Painted by Mather Brown 1786
James Madison (1751-1836) Fourth President, 1809-1817) J. M. coauthored with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist Papers, eighty-five essays arguing for the ratification of the Constitution. Madison wrote the first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights. Painting by Chester Harding 1829-30 (1792-1866)
James Monroe (1758-1831) Fifth President 1718-25. One of the last Founding Fathers in that period. The Monroe Doctrine articulated opposition to European meddling in the Western hemisphere and became a keystone to American foreign policy.
Here a link to a fellow blogger, i2choose on the difference between a democracy and a Republic. We share interests in history and politics.
From the time of the Civil War 1861-1865
Abraham Lincoln modelled 1887, cast 1923 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens born in Ireland died in NH 1907
Stephen Douglas, 1861. Leader of the Democratic party “There are only two sides to the question. Every man must be for the United States or against it. There can be no neutrals in this war, only patriots- or traitors”.
Stephen Douglas was a Democratic politician and organiser of the party. He lost the presidency to Abraham Lincoln. Douglas wanted a compromise regarding the slaves but ended supporting the Northen States to preserve the Union.
Abraham Lincoln, Republican President from 1861-1865, (1809-1865) painted by Charles Wesley Jarvis 1861
John Ericsson (1803-1889) Born in Sweden. Engineer and inventor. He designed an ironclad warship Monitor. The Federal response to the threat of Confederate ironclad Virginia. Painted by A. Nyholm, 1912. (1866-1927)
Detail from the same the painting of John Ericsson’s Monitor. (1803-1889)
For more on this check my husband’s post on Ericsson’s Monitor
Grant and his Generals, 1864 by Norwegian Ole Peter Hansen. The picture was used to raise funds for the wounded soldiers in the Civil War.
Some American Artists from the same period
Erskine, Nanny, Maxwell, Elza and Berwick Wood 1890, Olin Levi Warner
Improvisation 1899, by Childe Hassam born Dorchester, MA 1859- died East Hampton, NY 1935
The Victorian Chair 1906, Childe Hassam born Dorchester MA 1859- died East Hampton NY 1935
Idle Hours 1895, H. Siddons Mowbray, born Alexandria 1858-died Washington CT 1928
The Mirror about 1910, Robert Reid, born Stockbridge, MA 1862 died Clifton Springs, NY 1929
The Vine Bronze 1923, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth. Born in Philadelphia 1880- 1980 died Waterbury Connecticut.