Charles Willson Peale Biography

Painter (1741–1827)
Charles Willson Peale was an American painter best known as one of the most prolific artists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He painted more than a dozen heroic portraits of George Washington.


American painter Charles Willson Peale was born on April 15, 1741, in Chester, Maryland. His father, a convicted felon, died when Peale was 8 years old, which left the family impoverished. Peale started his own saddler business at age 20, and when he accumulated debt he began painting miniature portraits to earn money. His talent flourished and during the Revolution he painted more than a dozen portraits of George Washington. In his lifetime he devoted himself to the arts, founding the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Peale died February 27, 1827, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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