Valley Forge FAQs

Why was the famous picture of George Washington unfinished?

Q.Why was the famous picture of George Washington that can be found hanging in old school rooms unfinished?
Terri Roberts from Hooker, Oklahoma

A.The painting that you are referring to is by Gilbert Stuart. It is the portrait that is the basis for the picture you can find on the dollar bill. The artist painted George Washington on many different occasions. This particular portrait had originally been commissioned by Martha Washington along with a companion portrait of herself to hang by its side. In the course of painting, George Washington passed away and the Martha portrait was never even begun. Stuart found he could make more money "knocking" out copies of his portraits and selling those.

SAS, Courtesy The Valley Forge Historical Society

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