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( 1785-1862 )

Charles Bird King

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Lauded as Washington, D.C.'s first significant resident artist, Charles Bird King studied in New York with Edward Savage and in London with Benjamin West. At the time, West had all but abandoned portraiture for history painting, but King benefitted from West's instruction and gained access to the studios of the best English portrait painters. Returning to America in 1812, he worked briefly in Philadelphia and Baltimore before settling in the nation's capital.

Of the hundreds of pictures King painted, the best known are his portraits of Indians and of prominent local citizens and national leaders. King enriched the life of the city in other ways as well. In addition to the Indian Gallery, begun in 1821, his own studio was a favorite retreat for artists and lovers of art. King often painted replicas or copies of his portraits, probably to enhance his gallery, and he also painted variant views. His finest pictures, including Mrs. John Quincy Adams (National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.) and Henry Clay and John Calhoun (Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.) were painted in the 1820s.

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This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Robert M. Hicklin, Jr. Inc.


For more information on this artist and work, please contact us.

This essay is copyrighted by Robert M. Hicklin Jr., Inc. and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission.

1451 River Road · Yemassee, SC 29945 · 843.412.8738
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