Authentication of Washington at Princeton Portrait by Charles Willson Peale
The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ Office of Cultural Heritage has confirmed the authenticity of a painting of George Washington after the Battle of Princeton that was gifted to the embassy in 1989 by Caroline Ryan Foulke and hangs in the U.S. Embassy Paris Ambassador’s Residence. The painting, attributed to Charles Willson Peale, was part of a series of portraits by Peale in the late 1770s and early 1780s, several of which were used as diplomatic gifts from the United States to allied nations during the Revolutionary War.
Washington’s portrait in Paris was painted by Peale in 1779 as a diplomatic gift commissioned by Henry Laurens of South Carolina for the government of the Netherlands but was seized by the British Navy in 1780. The study established a line of ownership and analyzed the physical attributes of the painting to confirm its authenticity.
The Office of Cultural Heritage has released a 17-minute documentary video shot during the study that discusses the research and analytical techniques used to determine its authenticity. Learn more about the study on the Office of Cultural Heritage website.