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History, Americana, Art, Apotheosis of George Washington, Lithograph, Antique Print, Munich, c. 1830-50

$1,500

Samuel Moore (after)
Heinrich Weishaupt (1810–1883) (lithographer)
Apotheosis of George Washington
J.M. Hermann, Munich: c. 1830-1850
Lithograph with original hand coloring
$1,500

Patriotic lithograph based on a painting by Samuel Moore that portrays the American war hero and the nation’s first president George Washington being conveyed to heaven by a winged angel and allegorical female figures in a blaze of light. Beneath him, Columbia, the personification of the United States, has risen from her seat on a raised platform between two columns, arms outstretched, beneath with a statue of a bald eagle bearing the United States motto “E pluribus unum.” To the left is a tomb surmounted by a flame and inscribed with Washington’s name and a Latin inscription indicating that he died on December 14, 1799. The tomb is surrounded by 16 mourning women in classical dress, representing the 16 states that made up the republic at the time of his death.

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Description

The text included below the image describes the scene:

When the first in Council, the first in the field, and the first in the hearts of his fellow citizens, the father of his country, the illustrious Washington, left this earthly mansion attended by those virtues which were the inmates of his soul in his terrestrial pilgrimage, and borne on the arms of faith and love, he winged his flight to the footstool of boundless mercy to join the Hallelujahs of the just and ever blessed immortals. Hope led the way to the seat of bliss, and points the road to his infranchised spirit, whilst the whole group (in glory inexpressibly too bright for the mortal eye) majestically ascended toward the Throne of the Everlasting, to receive the award of “well done thou good and faithful servant”. We may well suppose the hosts of Heaven and the spirits of the just made perfect welcome their newborn brother to the abodes of bliss, the regions of eternal day.

Seated on high, his Glory bursts thro’ the clouds of Heaven and sheds rays of light on a benighted World. A more peculiar ray of his Glory brightens the widowed Columbia, who looks up to him as the rock of her consolation taking an eternal farewell of his mortal essence, but whose glory beams on her forever. Rays of comfort illuminate the countenance and cheer the bosoms of the Orphan States, dissolving in sorrow at his tomb and lamenting the departure of their adored Friend, Benefactor, and Protector.

The death of America’s first president and American Revolutionary War general George Washington in 1799 was received with an outpouring of grief and gratitude for his leadership that inspired numerous images in tribute to a revered fallen leader. This lithograph is just one of the quasi-religious depictions of Washington as a hero undergoing an apotheosis and ascension to heaven. One such popular print, Apotheosis of Washington after Rembrandt Peale, is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Another version of The Apotheosis of Washington was engraved by John James Barralet after works by Gilbert Stuart, published c. 1800-1802. Later in the 19th century, Constantino Brumidi created a monumental Apotheosis of Washington for the ceiling of the dome over the Rotunda of the United States Capitol Building.

Heinrich Weishaupt was a German lithographer and author of instructional books for artists, including an updated and revised edition of Das Gesammtgebiet des Steindrucks, Heinrich Eduard Pescheck’s 1840s treatise on the theory and practice of stone lithography. Weishaupt’s version was issued in 1865, 1875 and 1895.

Johann M. von Hermann (1793-1855) was an Austrian-born publisher active in Munich in the mid 19th century.

Full publication information: Painted by Samuel Moore. Litograph by H. Weishaupt. Stamped by J.M. Hermann.

Condition: Generally very good, the original colors bright and fresh, recently professionally cleaned and restored, including closing a few short marginal tears , with the usual overall remaining light toning, wear, handling.

References:

“Apotheosis of George Washington.” Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2000-2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/365736 (1 July 2021).

“Apotheosis of Washington.” Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2000-2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/365795 (1 July 2021).

“Apotheosis of Washington.” National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.77.108 (1 July 2021).

“Study for the Apotheosis of Washington in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol Building.” Smithsonian Museum of American Art. https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/study-apotheosis-washington-rotunda-united-states-capitol-building-84517 (1 July 2021).

Additional information

Century

19th Century