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William Dunlap self-portrait

National Portrait Gallery
Born Perth Amboy, New Jersey

William Dunlap is now best known as America’s first art historian. His History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States (1834) remains an essential account of early American culture and the arts. Dunlap studied art in London with Benjamin West, and while there he grew to love the theater. When he returned to America he pursued careers as both a dramatist and painter. This is one of three known miniature self-portraits of Dunlap and was likely created when he began to take commissions for miniatures, around 1805.

William Dunlap

National Portrait Gallery

Elizabeth Linn Brown

National Portrait Gallery

Richard Channing Moore

National Portrait Gallery

Elizabeth Stoughton Wolcott

Catalog of American Portraits

Joel Barlow

National Portrait Gallery
Born Redding, Connecticut

An intellectual and diplomat, Revolutionary War veteran Joel Barlow spent many years abroad. In 1787 he wrote “The Vision of Columbus,” one of the first epic poems celebrating American progress. William Dunlap, an artist and dramatist, traveled the East Coast beginning in 1805, painting miniatures to support his family. According to family letters, he met Barlow in February 1806 in Washington, D.C. This signed and dated portrait contrasts the richness of the dramatic background with Barlow’s carefully depicted features.

Charles Brockden Brown

National Portrait Gallery
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

America’s first literary professional, Charles Brockden Brown produced six important novels between 1798 and 1801, and was also a magazine contributor and editor. He and William Dunlap were lifelong friends; this miniature was painted when Brown had settled into married life and his journalistic work, and just a few years before his death from tuberculosis. It is a fine example of the luminosity possible with transparent watercolor on ivory.

John Adams

Catalog of American Portraits

Montage of American Theatrical Figures

National Portrait Gallery

Mortals and Immortals

National Portrait Gallery

Grant and His Generals

National Portrait Gallery
Left to right: Thomas C. Devin (1822-1878), George A. Custer (1839-1876), Hugh J. Kilpatrick (1836-1881), William H. Emory (1811-1887), Philip H. Sheridan (1831-1888), James B. McPherson (1828-1864), George Crook (1830-1890), Wesley Merritt (1834-1910), George H. Thomas (1816-1870), Gouverneur Kemble Warren (1830-1882), George G. Meade (1815-1872), John G. Parke (1827-1900), William T. Sherman (1820-1891), John A. Logan (1826-1886), Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881), Joseph Hooker (1814-1879), Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886), John A. Rawlins (1831-1869), Edward O. C. Ord (1818-1883), Francis Preston Blair (1821-1875), Alfred H. Terry (1827-1890), Henry W. Slocum (1827-1894), Jefferson C. Davis (1828-1879), Oliver O. Howard (1830-1909), John M. Schofield (1831-1906), Joseph A. Mower (1827-1870)

After the Norwegian artist Ole Peter Hansen Balling had sketched President Lincoln at the White House in the fall of 1864, he obtained permission to paint life portraits of leading Union generals. Balling joined General Grant at City Point, Virginia, during the campaign against Richmond and spent five weeks there sketching officers in the field. Philip H. Sheridan was painted while in the Shenandoah Valley; the portraits of William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas were done in Washington after the end of the war. The image of George A. Custer, second from the left, is thought to be the only life portrait painted of him.

Heroes of the Republic

National Portrait Gallery

Grant and His Generals

National Portrait Gallery
As the Civil War moved into its final stages in the fall of 1864, the Norwegian artist Ole Peter Hansen Balling and a prosperous New Yorker conceived of the idea for a large equestrian painting depicting the commander of the Union armies, Ulysses S. Grant, flanked by an array of generals who served under him. Upon completion, the painting would be used to raise funds for the United States Sanitary Commission, a private organization for aiding sick and wounded soldiers. To obtain likenesses of the twenty-seven figures in the picture, Balling traveled to Union army encampments to make life studies of his subjects. Among the most cooperative was Grant, who gave Balling repeated opportunities to draw him as he rode with staff officers to survey the forward lines near his headquarters at City Point, Virginia.

The final rendering of Grant and His Generals approached being life-sized. Balling also painted this smaller version, most likely to serve as the template for a color lithograph of the picture. Today both paintings are in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection; the large version is on display in a nearby stairwell.

Left to right: Thomas C. Devin (1822–1878), George A. Custer (1839–1876), Hugh J. Kilpatrick (1836–1881), William H. Emory (1811–1887), Philip H. Sheridan (1831–1888), James B. McPherson (1828–1864), George Crook (1830–1890), Wesley Merritt (1834–1910), George H. Thomas (1816–1870), Gouverneur Kemble Warren (1830–1882), George G. Meade (1815–1872), John G. Parke (1827–1900), William T. Sherman (1820–1891), John A. Logan (1826–1886), Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), Ambrose E. Burnside (1824–1881), Joseph Hooker (1814–1879), Winfield Scott Hancock (1824–1886), John A. Rawlins (1831–1869), Edward O. C. Ord (1818–1883), Francis Preston Blair (1821–1875), Alfred H. Terry (1827–1890), Henry W. Slocum (1827–1894), Jefferson C. Davis (1828–1879), Oliver O. Howard (1830–1909), John M. Schofield (1831–1906), Joseph A. Mower (1827–1870)

Mientras la Guerra Civil se acercaba a su etapa final en el otoño de 1864, el artista noruego Ole Peter Hansen Balling y un próspero neoyorquino idearon hacer una pintura ecuestre de gran formato que representara al comandante de los ejércitos de la Unión, Ulysses S. Grant, flanqueado por un nutrido grupo de los generales que estaban bajo sus órdenes. El cuadro se utilizaría para recaudar fondos a beneficio del Comité Sanitario de Estados Unidos, organización privada que ayudaba a los soldados enfermos o heridos. Para poder hacer los retratos de los veintisiete personajes que aparecen en el cuadro, Balling visitó los campamentos de la Unión y dibujó bocetos del natural. Entre los modelos más cooperadores estuvo Grant, quien permitió a Balling dibujarlo en varias ocasiones mientras cabalgaba con sus oficiales para inspeccionar el frente de batalla cerca de su cuartel general en City Point, Virginia.

La versión final de Grant y sus generales es casi de tamaño natural. Balling también pintó esta versión más pequeña, probablemente como plantilla para una litografía a color. Hoy, ambas pinturas se encuentran en la colección de la National Portrait Gallery. La versión grande se expone en el vano de una escalera cercana.

Desde la izquierda: Thomas C. Devin (1822–1878), George A. Custer (1839–1876), Hugh J. Kilpatrick (1836–1881), William H. Emory (1811–1887), Philip H. Sheridan (1831–1888), James B. McPherson (1828–1864), George Crook (1830–1890), Wesley Merritt (1834–1910), George H. Thomas (1816–1870), Gouverneur Kemble Warren (1830–1882), George G. Meade (1815–1872), John G. Parke (1827–1900), William T. Sherman (1820–1891), John A. Logan (1826–1886), Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), Ambrose E. Burnside (1824–1881), Joseph Hooker (1814–1879), Winfield Scott Hancock (1824–1886), John A. Rawlins (1831–1869), Edward O. C. Ord (1818–1883), Francis Preston Blair (1821–1875), Alfred H. Terry (1827–1890), Henry W. Slocum (1827–1894), Jefferson C. Davis (1828–1879), Oliver O. Howard (1830–1909), John M. Schofield (1831–1906), Joseph A. Mower (1827–1870)

The Room in the McLean House, at Appomattox Court House, in which General Lee Surrendered to General Grant

National Portrait Gallery
Most written accounts of Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, noted the difference between Lee’s stiff dignity and Grant’s more relaxed demeanor. This lithograph of the event, showing the two men as they waited for the peace terms to be copied, captures that difference better than most.

After the surrender, Wilmer McLean, the owner of the house, lost much of his furniture to soldiers desiring mementos of the historic event. Later, in what proved to be a futile effort to recoup his losses and raise funds for his needy family, he commissioned this print.