Who painted the portrait of George Washington on the $1 bill?

The Answer: Gilbert Stuart, 1755-1828.

George Washington posed for Gilbert Stuart, the son of a Newport, R.I. snuff grinder and a student of Benjamin West on April 12, 1796. Stuart replicated this portrait over and over again, including the one used on the $1 bill.
Two other Washington portraits by Gilbert Stuart are currently generating much controversy as the New York Public Library offered them up for auction, hoping to fetch up to $23 million for an endowment fund.


My view is that the New York Public Library has no right to sell off national treasures. They're going to disappear into the world of art wheeling and dealing, and it will be America's loss.

hrmm. do you think every public institution should hold onto every national treasure it owns permanently? Sometimes selling a certain work, like these paintings, allows the institution to move forward with a really creative and timely project that reaches their community. (Not that this endowment fund is necessarily such a project, just that I think there are some circumstances that justify selling 'national treasures.')

Plus, the paintings might not disappear into private hands. Any number of publicly-accessible galleries or museums might and probably will bid for them. It's even possible the paintings could end up in a place where more of the public can see, learn about, and enjoy them.

In any case, I'm sure the art world will be abuzz.

Here is a follow-up article on the auction of the two Stuart portraits. I have real hope that both would end up in public institutions for the enjoyment and education of future generations to come.

I am also sure the New York Public Library will put the $14 million to good use.