Washington portrait sells for $6.1 million

May 18, 2004 at 5:38 PM
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NEW YORK, May 18 (UPI) -- A 1782 portrait of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale sold at auction Tuesday for $6.167 million, some $2 million above its pre-sale high estimate.

Katherine Adler, a spokeswoman for Sotheby's which handled the auction, said the painting set a world record for any U.S. portrait. The painting was purchased by an anonymous American collector, Adler said.

The portrait was consigned to sale by the Chastellux family, whose ancestor, Gen. Francois-Jean de Chastellux, was given the picture in gratitude for his service with the Continental Army in the American Revolution. It had not left the family in 222 years.

The artwork showed Washington with the Battle of Yorktown in the background.

Peale, a Philadelphia artist who painted most of the founding fathers, pictured the handsome, 52-year-old Washington in his uniform of commander in chief of the Continental Army, a broad blue satin ribbon across his chest. The pose is three-quarter with Washington's right hand on his hip and his left atop a cannon above which a soldier holds the 13-star American flag.

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