BENJAMIN F. NUTTING (AMERICAN 1803-1887). PORTRAIT OF MARTHA WASHINGTON, AFTER GILBERT STUART’S ‘ATHENAEUM PORTRAIT.’Est. $900-$1,500
Sold: $2,040 ($1,700)
Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches. Inscribed, signed and dated on the reverse “From Stuart/ by B.F. Nutting 1834.” Gilbert Stuart’s pendant portraits of George and Martha Washington were originally painted in 1796, though the artist left them unfinished, much to Martha’s consternation. Instead of finishing the portraits and delivering them to the Washingtons, Stuart used George’s portrait as a reference for future commissions. After Stuart’s death in 1828, the portraits were included in an exhibit of Stuart’s work at the Boston Athenaeum. In 1831 they were purchased from his estate and given to the Boston Athenaeum, where they were exhibited again in 1832. Nutting, a Boston artist and instructor, painted this copy of Stuart’s only portrait of Martha Washington within just a few years of its acquisition and exhibition.