The Italian Presence in American Art, 1760-1860

By Irma B. Jaffe | Go to book overview
14.
Rembrandt Peale, John Caldwell Calhoun, 1834. Oil on canvas, 30 ¼ X 25 ⅛. Carolina Art Association, The Gibbes Art Gallery, Carolina Art Association, Charleston, South Carolina. Bequest of Mrs. Thomas Frost. (photo: Carolina Art Association).

comfortable haven for the creative frame of mind. Nearly twenty-five years later, he recalled returning to Florence from a "ramble" in the countryside to witness "the most splendid effect of the evening sun." Eager to share it with Angelo, he had run to fetch him and recollected that when they returned "to my astonishment and delight, the scene was scarcely changed!" He related the incident, he said, not so much to show the extent of his excitement as "to impress the reader with the fact of the gentle changes of the Italian sky, as they may be contrasted with the atmosphere of our fast country." 52


NOTES
1.
R. Peale to C. F Mayer, September 9, 1828, Haines Papers, Quaker Collection, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania.
2.
Ibid. Michael Angelo Peale ( 1814-1833) was called Angelo by his family.
3.
Rembrandt illuminated his Baltimore Museum with gas lights in 1816, following the lead of his brother Rubens, who was then managing the Peale's Philadelphia Museum. Although Rembrandt was technically knowledgeable about this project, his lack of business acumen and the conflicting demands of his art and museum administration caused his interests to suffer. Litigation with his former partners went on for years, and he never received a satisfactory financial settlement.
4.
The Patriae Pater entered the U. S. Capitol collection in 1832. Two replicas of it are known to exist: one in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the other, in a private collection. In spite of years of lobbying and even a resolution passed by the Senate to acquire it, the Yorktown never became part of the Capitol collection.
5.
Although Peale made financial arrangements with a number of individuals in New York and Boston, his main patrons were his brother-in-law, Coleman Sellers, and the affluent and public-spirited Philadelphian Reuben Haines. They lent him substantial amounts of cash and provided financial and psychological security for his family during his absence. In return, Peale signed over to them his stock in the Philadelphia Museum and painted their portraits. In New York, Rembrandt lent to Philip Hone and others his Washington at Yorktown as security against a loan of $700, to be repaid in three years in either money or paintings. New York merchants Andrew Mitchill and Archibald West received Peale's enormous history painting The Court of Death ( 1820) as security, with the authority to sell it for $1,500. (See R. Peale to C. Sellers and R. Haines, New York, November 22, 1828, Haines Papers, Quaker Collection, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania.) Such arrangements, plus a subscription to make copies after selected Old Master paintings, provided Peale with

-21-

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