Saturday, July 4, 2015

Edward Savage

The Washington Family
from 1789 until 1796
oil on canvas
213.6 x 284.2 mm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA

Edward Savage (1761-1817), born in Princeton, Mass., was an American portrait painter and engraver.
He is said to have been originally a goldsmith, also practicing engraving. Although seemingly untrained in painting, he came into prominence in 1790 through his portrait of George Washington, intended as a gift to Harvard University.

In 1791 he visited London, where he studied for a time under Benjamin West, and then went to Italy. Upon his return to the United States in 1794, he practiced in Philadelphia and New York City, maintaining for several years a picture gallery and art museum on Water Street in New York.

He is principally known for a large portrait group, "The Washington Family" (begun 1789, completed 1796), portraying President George Washington, First Lady Martha Washington, two of her grandchildren, George Washington Parke Custis and Eleanor Parke Custis. The painting was bought by Andrew Mellon and donated to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.