Chrysler Museum of Art
First in the Hearts of His Countrymen: America Remembers George Washington (1732-1799)
November 23, 1999 through August, 2000
George Washington was an American icon of mythic proportions during even his lifetime. His death in 1799 solidified that stature and plunged the nation into deep mourning. In his famous eulogy, Henry Lee, eloquently and accurately summed up the first President's role in the early republic - Washington was truly "First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." So not surprisingly, Washington has been extensively celebrated in the fine and decorative arts throughout the past two centuries. (left: Charles Peale Polk (1767-1822), George Washington, c. 1793-94, oil on canvas, 36 1/8 x 29 inches, 63.16.6; right: Edward Hicks (1790-1849), Declaration of Independence, 18th century, oil on canvas, 26 x 29 1/2 inches, 76.53.1)
First in the Hearts of His Countrymen shows visitors just how pervasive Washington's image became as he was celebrated in his lifetime and nearly canonized by subsequent generations. Not only was his visage captured in fine paintings, it remains integral to our nation's currency, and even became a part of everyday objects such as whiskey flasks. Drawn primarily from the Chrysler's Permanent Collection, this exhibition highlights some of the fine and decorative art objects that pay special tribute to our foremost Founding Father. (left: P.L. Krider, Yorktown Centennial Medal, 1881, 1 15/16 inches diamater, 68.40.20; right: Libby Glass Company, Toledo, Ohio, Glass Hatchet, 1893, pressed glass, 8 inches length, 79.166.18)
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For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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