George Washington Portrait


George Washington Portrait with Matilda and Alfred

In honor of President’s Day, we’re sharing this portrait of George Washington that hangs in Meadow Brook’s Christopher Wren Dining Room. The painting is one Matilda Dodge Wilson was particularly fond of, and it is said that when she went to live at her different properties, she would bring this portrait with her.

Painted by Gilbert Stuart, an American artist famous for his more than 100 portraits of George Washington–including the first president’s likeness on the dollar bill.

The Portrait of George Washington that hung in The Hall was painted in 1822 and features a sword tucked in Washington’s arm and a rainbow in the background–representing the hope of the young country. While the portrait was in Mrs. Wilson’s collection, she received numerous purchase offers (including from the Duveen Brothers and Rockefeller family), but she decided never to part with it.

George Washington Portrait

After Matilda Wilson’s death in 1967, some of Meadow Brook’s largest and finest pieces of art were sold at auction or bequeathed to her family. In 1971, the painting was bought for $205,000 (by Dr. Armand Hammer for the Hammer Collection Museum in Los Angeles), which was a record-breaking price for a piece by an American artist. In 2014, the painting was sold to the Louvre, Abu Dhabi for an undisclosed amount, where it remains today.

The Portrait of George Washington at Meadow Brook is a high-quality replica that has been restored to its original location in the Christopher Wren Dining Room where Matilda placed it in 1929.