Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)
|Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Robinson, 1795
Oil on canvas, 27 1/4 x 36 1/8"
Gift of Barbara B. Millhouse, 1973.2.2
As the paterfamilias of the most important family of painters in American history, Peale guaranteed his reputation through his progeny as well as in his contributions to the natural sciences and the founding of the first public museum in the United States. The archetype renaissance man of the Early Republic, Peale's place in a collection such as Reynolda's was never in question. The only issue: which painting to acquire? Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Robinson is a quintessential Reynolda House painting as there is a compelling narrative in the masterpiece. It is an unusual double portrait, but more significantly, the sitters are the artist's daughter and her husband. In time-honored tradition, Peale lavished his artistic skills upon Angelica's portrait and never quite came to terms with his son-in-law.