CINCINNATI – Cowan’s March 9-10 American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts sale found its apex at $35,200 with one of American artist Alonzo Chappel’s (1828-1887) most recognized works, “George Washington at Princeton.”
The oil on canvas, 24 by 18 inches, was completed in 1857 and proved so popular that it was printed by New York publishing firm Johnson, Fry & Company that same year. It was reproduced in volume one of Life and Times of Washington by Schroeder-Lossing.
A favored subject of American artists, including Charles Willson Peale, the work features America’s first president on horseback, raising his hat high and leading his soldiers through one of the most decisive victories of the American Revolution. Period accounts place Washington under 50 yards from the front line at one point. As the inexperienced American soldiers fell back from fire, Washington rode forward on white horse and said, “Parade with us my brave fellows! There is but a handful of the enemy and we shall have them directly!”
The work came from the collection of Noel and Kathryn Dickinson Wadsworth of Atlanta, Georgia. The couple was among the founders of the Auburn Fine Arts Museum and have a gallery named after them there. The painting was featured in a 2004 exhibition at the museum, “Auburn Collects.”
Watch for a full review in a future issue.