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Arab museum buys Gilbert Stewart portrait of George Washington

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That’s right, the Persian Gulf. This fall the Arab emirate of Abu Dhabi opened a branch of the Louvre Museum, part of a long term agreement with the French government. Not a few people were startled when museum officials in Abu Dhabi announced they had paid the Armand Hammer Foundation a hefty undisclosed sum for a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington. Recent sales of Stuart portraits have been in the $8 million range.

This 1822 painting shows the first American president sitting at a desk, one hand resting on a document, the other cradling a sword hilt. In this late era version, Stuart added a rainbow in the sky outside Washington’s red-velvet curtained window. Arab museum officials saw it as a symbol of hope for a new nation. The portrait will be displayed beside Jacques Louis-David’s epic painting, “Napoleon Crossing the Alps,” which is on loan from the Palace of Versailles. Americans should be pleased to discover that George Washington can speak to people so distant and different from the world he knew.

Read entire article at The Newsletter of the New York American Revolution Round Table

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