Emanuel Leutze. “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”
New York: Goupil & Co., 1853. 22 1/2 x 38 1/2. Steel engraving by Paul Girardet. Attractive full hand color. Three inch repaired tear in sky with several small repaired tears at top just into image. Print has been professionally conserved. Framed with archival materials. Frame size 34 ½ x 48 ½. Else, very good condition. A/A
One of the most famous pictorial images produced of the American Revolution. This scene depicts Washington and his men crossing the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776. In November of 1776, Washington was forced to abandon New York City and retreated down in to New Jersey. He crossed the Delaware on December 11, to cover the capital at Philadelphia. The British troops under Cornwallis did not attempt to follow and went into winter quarters. Washington saw his opportunity to attack, and on Christmas night, crossed the river and landed nine miles north of Trenton. He surprised the Hessian troops stationed in Trenton and captured them easily. Washington returned back into Pennsylvania, with his prisoners, and later returned to Trenton on December 30, and 31, to occupy the town. Even though this is a very stirring and patriotic image, there are a number of historical inaccuracies. The boat is the wrong size and shape; the flag shown was not in use until six months later; and Washington himself would most likely have been thrown overboard on that stormy night. Even with these embellishments this print is a testament to the spirit of the occasion.
This print is after a painting, executed in 1851, by Emanuel Leutze. Born in Germany in 1816, Leutze is known mainly as a historical and portrait painter. He and his family emigrated to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, where he studied painting under John Rubens Smith. In 1840 Leutze traveled back to Germany to study under Lessing. He lived in Germany for twenty years before returning to America in 1859 to paint “Westward the Course of the Empire”, an allegorical-historical mural for the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. For the remainder of his life Leutze spent his time between New York and Washington, dying in the former city in 1868. Today, he is best remembered as the painter of this famous image.
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