One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Emanuel Leutze (1816 - 1868)

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (May 24, 1816 – July 18, 1868) was a German American history painter best known for his painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. He is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting.

New York City and Washington D.C.

In 1859, Leutze returned to the United States and opened a studio in New York City.[2] He divided his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.[9] In 1859, he painted a portrait of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney which hangs in the Harvard Law School. In a 1992 opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia described the portrait of Taney, made two years after Taney's infamous decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, as showing Taney "in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep-set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment."

Leutze also executed other portraits, including one of fellow painter William Morris Hunt. That portrait was owned by Hunt's brother Leavitt Hunt, a New York attorney and sometime Vermont resident, and was shown at an exhibition devoted to William Morris Hunt's work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1878.[10]

In 1860 Leutze was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to decorate a stairway in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, for which he painted a large composition, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, which is also commonly known as Westward Ho!.

Late in life, he became a member of the National Academy of Design. He was also a member of the Union League Club of New York, which has a number of his paintings. He died in Washington, D.C., in his 52nd year, of heatstroke. He was interred at Glenwood Cemetery.[11] At the time of his death, a painting, The Emancipation of the Slaves, was in preparation.[5]

Leutze's portraits are known less for their artistic quality than for their patriotic emotionalism. Washington Crossing the Delaware firmly ranks among the American national iconography, and is thus often caricatured.


[From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Leutze]
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