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Emanuel Leutze: Wikis


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Emanuel Leutze
Born May 24, 1816(1816-05-24)
Schw√§bisch Gm√ľnd, W√ľrttemberg Germany
Died July 18, 1868 (aged 52)
Washington DC
Nationality American
Field History painter
Training J.A.Smith, Karl Friedrich Lessing

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (May 24, 1816 ‚Äď July 18, 1868) was a German American history painter best-known for his painting Washington Crossing the Delaware.


Leutze was born in Schw√§bisch Gm√ľnd, W√ľrttemberg (Germany), was brought to America as a child, and then returned to Germany as an adult[1]. His parents settled first in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then at Fredericksburg, Va. He received his first instruction in art from J. A. Smith, a portrait painter in Philadelphia. In 1840, one of his paintings attracted attention and procured him several orders, which enabled him to go to D√ľsseldorf, where he studied with Lessing. In 1842 he went to Munich, studying the works of Cornelius and Karlbach, and the following year he visited Venice and Rome. In 1845 he returned to D√ľsseldorf and was married, making his home there for 14 years.

Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way
Washington rallying the troops at Monmouth

His first work, Columbus before the Council of Salamanca was purchased by the D√ľsseldorf Art Union. A strong supporter of Europe's Revolutions of 1848, Leutze decided to paint an image that would encourage Europe's liberal reformers with the example of the American Revolution. Using American tourists and art students as models and assistants, Leutze finished Washington Crossing the Delaware in 1850. It is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 1854, Leutze finished his depiction of the Battle of Monmouth, "Washington rallying the troops at Monmouth," commissioned by an important Leutze patron, banker David Leavitt of New York City and Great Barrington, Massachusetts.[2]

In 1859, Leutze painted a portrait of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney which hangs in the Harvard Law School. In a 1992 opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia described the portrait of Taney, made two years after Taney's infamous decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, as showing Taney "in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep-set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment."

Leutze also executed other portraits, including one of fellow painter William Morris Hunt. That portrait was owned by Hunt's brother Leavitt Hunt, a New York attorney and sometime Vermont resident, and was shown at an exhibition devoted to William Morris Hunt's work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1878.[3]

In 1860 Leutze was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to decorate a stairway in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, for which he painted a large composition, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, which is also commonly known as Westward Ho!.

Late in life, he became a member of the National Academy of Design. He was also a member of the Union League Club of New York, which has a number of his paintings. He died in Washington, D.C. in his 53rd year.

Leutze's portraits are known less for their artistic quality than for their patriotic emotionalism. Washington Crossing the Delaware firmly ranks among the American national iconography, and is thus often caricatured.


  1. ^ [1] " German Americans also have influenced greatly our artistic heritage. Emanuel Leutze's 1851 painting, "Washington Crossing the Delaware River," depicting the December 25, 1776 event when George Washington crossed the Delaware River leading the Continental army into the battle with the Hessian troops in the Battle of Trenton remains a cherished and recognized symbol of American courage and determination."
  2. ^ "Washington at Monmouth," American Heritage Magazine, June 1965,
  3. ^ Exhibition of the Works of William Morris Hunt, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, John C. Dalton, Alfred Mudge & Son, Boston, 1879
  • Hutton, Anne Hawkes (1975). Portrait of Patriotism: Washington Crossing the Delaware. Radnor, Pennsylvania: Chilton Book Company. ISBN 0-8019-6418-0. 
  • New International Encyclopedia

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LEUTZE, EMANUEL (1816-1868), American artist, was born at Gmiind, Wurttemberg, on the 24th of May 1816, and as a child was taken by his parents to Philadelphia, where he early displayed talent as an artist. At the age of twenty-five he had earned enough to take him to Dusseldorf for a course of art study at the royal academy. Almost immediately he began the painting of historical subjects, his first work, "Columbus before the Council of Salamanca," being purchased by the Dusseldorf Art Union. In 1860 he was commissioned by the United States Congress to decorate a stairway in the Capitol at Washington, for which he painted a large composition, "Westward the Star of Empire takes its Way." His best-known work, popular through engraving, is "Washington crossing the Delaware," a large canvas containing a score of life-sized figures; it is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He became a member of the National Academy of Design in 1860, and died at Washington, D.C., on the 18th of July 1868.

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