Peale, Charles Willson: The Peale Family

The Peale Family

Charles Willson Peale's brother James Peale, 1749–1831, b. Chestertown, Md., painted portraits, particularly miniatures. There is a portrait of Washington by him in the New-York Historical Society. Another hangs in Independence Hall. Of Charles Willson Peale's 17 children, four aptly named sons became painters—Titian Ramsay Peale, 1799–1885, museum director, naturalist on U.S. scientific expeditions, and painter noted for his depictions of birds, mammals, and butterflies, b. Philadelphia; Rubens Peale, 1784–1865, museum director who became a still-life and landscape painter later in life, b. Bucks co., Pa.; Raphaelle Peale, 1774–1825, still-life and portrait painter, b. Annapolis, Md., known chiefly for After the Bath (Nelson Gall.-Atkins Mus., Kansas City, Mo.); and Rembrandt Peale, 1778–1860, portrait and historical painter, b. Bucks County, Pa.

Rembrandt Peale practiced for several years in Charleston, S.C., became a pupil of Benjamin West in London, and visited Paris, where he painted many eminent Frenchmen. In 1810 he settled in Philadelphia, devoting himself chiefly to portraiture. He was one of the original members of the National Academy of Design and succeeded (1825) John Trumbull as president of the American Academy of Fine Arts. A clever lithographer, he also lectured on natural history and wrote several books. Examples of his portraits of Washington and other famous personages may be seen at the New-York Historical Society; Independence Hall, Philadelphia; the Metropolitan Museum; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His large allegory The Court of Death is in the Detroit Institute of Art.

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