The Painter’s Chair

January 3, 2012

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“I am so hackneyed to the touches of the painters pencil, that I am now altogether at their beck … no dray moves more readily to the Thill, than I do to the Painters Chair.”

–George Washington, May 16, 1785

An eloquent new look at the beginnings of the American republic—through the portraits of its most indispensable man, George Washington, and the painters who defined him.

Howard’s narrative traces Washington’s interaction with Gilbert Stuart, Charles Willson Peale, John Trumbull and other artists, while offering a fresh and intimate portrait of the first president. The Painter’s Chair is an engaging retelling of how America’s first painters toiled to create an art worthy of the revolutionary republic—and of the hero whom they turned into an icon.

“[A] lively narrative…A novel, ingeniously executed approach to the inspiring man whose dollar-bill likeness is arguably the most reproduced painted image in history.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Of the 28 portraitists known to have painted Washington in his lifetime, Howard trains his sharp eye on the few who truly helped define this enigmatic man for his successors.”
—Boston Globe