Gilbert Stuart (American, North Kingston, Rhode Island 1755–1828 Boston, Massachusetts)
Oil on canvas
44 1/4 x 35 7/8 in. (112.4 x 91.1 cm)
Gift of Lucille S. Pfeffer, 1977
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 753
This portrait, representing Revolutionary War hero General Horatio Gates (1728–1806), was painted long after he led his troops to victory at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Although his military career was turbulent, the English-born Gates is represented in the uniform of a brigadier general, decorated with the medal that Congress ordered struck to commemorate his triumph at Saratoga. In his hand is a copy of the Saratoga Convention. The painting descended in the family of Gates' good friend, Colonel Ebenezer Stevens. The work is a blend of Stuart's more painterly English style and the Copleyesque forthrightness that defined American high style.
Ebenezer Stevens, New York, by 1796–died 1823; his son, Horatio Gates Stevens, New York, 1823–died 1873; his son, John Rhinelander Stevens, New York, 1873–died 1898; his daughter, Mrs. Edward Elwell (Lucille Stevens) Spafford, New York, 1898–died 1914; her daughter, Mrs. Charles A. (Lucille Spafford) Pfeiffer Jr., New York, 1914–1977