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Junius Brutus Stearns (born Raphael Stearns) (1810, Arlington, VT — 1885, Brooklyn, NY ) was an American painter best known for his five part Washington Series (1847-1856).[1]

He was member of the National Academy of Design for several decades and member of its Council. His painting The Millenium was submitted as credentials for his admission, a painting discussed in great detail in the book Something Coming: Apocalyptic Expectation and Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Painting [2]


Who was JB Stearns?

Despite that Butler Art [1] reports Junius as having been born "Raphael Stearns", Junius Brutus Stearns was actually born Lucius Sawyer Stearns[3] June 2, 1810, in Vermont. He died September 17, 1885, in Brooklyn, New York, in a horse and carriage accident after returning from a night at the theatre[4]. He named two sons after him, one Lucius Stearns, and the other Junius Brutus Stearns, Jr. JB Stearns, Jr., served in the Civil War in the 44th Regiment[5]. JB Stearns served in the Civil War as well, New York's 12th Regiment[6][7][8]. He also had two other sons named Raphael and Michaelangelo, and a daughter, Edith Sylvia[9][10].


JB Stearns is most famous for his series on George Washington, written about extensively by Mark Thistlewaite[11]. Of these his painting, Washington as a Statesman[12], depicts President Washington addressing the Constitutional Convention; it is the subject of a US Postage Stamp in 1937[13].

Stearns also painted a second series of Washington in which he depicted free blacks[14]. Not as much is known about this series or the intentions of the artist in so portraying blacks on the eve of the Civil War, although there was supposition by Mack, et al.[15].


  1. ^ a b "Signing of the Constitution by Junius Brutus Stearns"
  2. ^ [Gail E. Husch (2000). Something Coming: Apocalyptic Expectation and Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Painting].
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  4. ^ [ New York Times (09.19.1885)
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  11. ^ Thistlewaite, Mark Edward (1979). The Image of George Washington: Studies in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American History Painting. New York: Garland.
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  15. ^ [ Mack, Angela D., and Hoffius, Stephen G. (2008). Landscape of Slavery: The Plantation in American Art University of South Carolina Press]

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