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Emanuel Leutze, 1816–1868, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851.
This pocket square features an iconic American painting by the artist Emanuel Leutze. Leutze finished a first version of the painting in 1850, but just after it was completed, it was damaged by fire in his studio. It was subsequently restored, but then in 1942, during World War II, was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid.
The second painting, a replica of the first, and even bigger, was then ordered by a Parisian art trader and it was placed on exhibition in New York in 1851. It was at this exhibition that Marshall O. Roberts bought the canvas for the then-enormous sum of $10,000. Many studies for the painting exist, as do copies by other artists, and it now firmly ranks as a true piece of American national iconography.
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Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (May 24, 1816 – July 18, 1868) was a German American history painter best known for this particular painting and is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting. At 14, he painted portraits for $5 apiece and through such work was able to support himself after the death of his father. In 1834, he began studying under John Rubens Smith, a portrait painter in Philadelphia, and he soon became proficient. In 1842 he went to Munich before visiting Venice and Rome the following year to study the works of Titian and Michelangelo, before returning to Dusseldorf. In 1859 Leutze then returned to the US and opened a studio in New York City.
Washington is the clear focus of the painting and one of the more striking areas of the painting, although there are some inaccuracies. His stance, although of course intended to depict him in a heroic fashion, would have been very hard to maintain in the stormy conditions of the crossing. Also, it is thought such a stance would have risked capsizing the boat. It has also been argued that everyone would have been standing up to avoid the icy water in the bottom of the boat (the actual Durham boats used to have higher sides).
Located in New York City, and colloquially known as 'the Met', the museum was founded in 1870 for the purposes of opening a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. It is the largest art museum in the United States and, with over 7 million visitors in 2016, was the second most visited art museum in the world, and the fifth most visited museum of any kind.
The permanent collection contains over two million works which is divided among seventeen curatorial departments. This consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met maintains extensive holdings of African, Asian, Oceanian, Byzantine, Indian, and Islamic art. It is also home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, as well as antique weapons and armor from around the world. There are also several notable interiors installed in the galleries, ranging from first-century Rome through to modern American design.
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