Gilbert Stuart

Gilbert Stewart

1755 (North Kingstown, R.I.) – 1828 (Boston, Mass.)

Stuart worked as West’s assistant for 5 years in London, and as a young member of the Royal Academy knew and was influenced by Reynolds, Gainsborough and Copley (all of whose portraits he painted before returning to the U.S.). He was notorious for working slowly, living beyond his means, and leaving canvases unfinished. Jefferson, one of many establishment figures to sit for Stuart, spent 20 years trying in exasperation to get a finished painting out of him. Morse was a correspondent. Trumbull, who had shared a studio in London, set up in New York to avoid fighting for the same portraiture market.’’