The Old Print Shop

Gilbert Stuart


Gilbert Stuart was an American painter from the US colony of Rhode Island. He was a prominent portrait artist in his day, producing over 1,100 portraits during his lifetime. Despite this, he was also known for his "dilatory work habits", as John Adams once noted of the artist. Suffering from depression, Stuart found it difficult to work on portraits that bored him, and sometimes could not work at all for long stretches of time. His impressive talents, however, attracted many an influential sitter, including the first five American Presidents (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe), which resulted in the "Gibbs-Coolidge Set." Stuart's most famous portrait is arguably the unfinished lifetime painting of George Washington known as "The Athenaeum", which was replicated for use on the US one-dollar bill.