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Mt. Vernon

Probably 1804-1810
Origin: America
Framed: 20" x 26". Unframed: 18" x 24" (45.7 cm. x 61.0 cm.)
Watercolor on paper
Gift of the John D. Rockefeller, 3rd, Fund, Inc., through the generosity and interest of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, 3rd, and members of the family.
Acc. No. 1979.302.4
The watercolor scene with its strong blues and greens and emphasis on rhythmic surface patterns becomes an exciting and imaginative picture in its own right. The unidentified amateur artist's difficulties with perspective are evident in the distorted architectural features and the relative sizes of the flowers and trees in the foreground. Confusion about the source of light results in shadows for the three trees on the central slope that do not correspond to the shape of the trees and fall almost directly opposite the carefully drawn shadows of the portico columns nearby. Mountains looming behind the house and numerous ships bobbing in the river elaborate upon the engraved source. The artist employed a stippled effect to give the watercolor the texture of an embroidered picture when viewed from a distance.
Label:This view of George Washington's home copies an aquatint drawn by Alexander Robertson and engraved by Francis Jukes that was published in New York and London in 1800. Washington and all aspects of his life were favorite subjects of amateur artists during the early years of the nineteenth century.
Provenance:Purchased from Katrina Kipper, Accord, Mass., May or June 1936, for use at Bassett Hall, Williamsburg home of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Given to C.W.F. in 1979.
Mark(s):A watermark in the primary support reads: "J WHATM {AN}/1804," porbably for the Hollingsworths & Balston firm that operated the former Whatman mills until 1806.