February 22nd, 2012
Learning About Washington Crossing the Delaware
Posted by Francesca
I had nothing to read the other day, so I picked up the March issue of the Maine Antique Digest, one of Martha’s favorite antiques publications. It’s filled with all sorts of ads for antique shows around the country and also some very interesting articles about antiquities. One article, in particular, caught my attention about the very famous 1851 oil-on-canvas of Washington Crossing the Delaware.
1 What are you reading, Francesca?
2 Oh Sharkey, it's the new issue of the Maine Antique Digest. Martha loves it and always reads it from cover to cover! I was leafing through it and found an interesting article.
3 It's all about one of America's most famous historical paintings, Emanuel Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware. This painting, which resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was recently cleaned and reframed.
4 Oh Francesca, I've seen that painting before!
5 I'm sure you have, Sharkey. This painting has become iconic in American art, as it depicts George Washington's journey over the icy Delaware River right before a crucial victory in the Revolutionary War!
6 No, Francesca, I mean it's hanging right over there on the wall of our blog studio!
7 Wait a minute, that can't be the same one! The real painting is 12-feet-high and 21-feet-long and it's currently hanging in the American Wing of the Met! Before that, it was being reframed by Eli Wilner!
8 Well, this painting is definitely not that large! But did I hear you say Eli Wilner's name? Isn't he the leading purveyor of antique frames and reproductions?
9 The one and the same! He's the one who reproduced the original frame for this famous painting.
10 The original frame was large and gilded with an ornate eagle on the top. The painting, which had many owners before it was in the museum, mysteriously lost its original frame around 1918.
11 Wilner and his company reproduced it by referencing old photographs of the painting and frame. Why Sharkey, this small print of the painting also has a miniature reproduction of the original frame!
12 No wonder, Franny! The back says it's from Eli Wilner & Co. He must have gifted it to Martha when he presented her with an award at the Olana Partnership! How interesting!
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