The Smithsonian Megatherium Club was a group of scientists who researched all day and partied all night. No, really: they drank beer, ate oysters, and had sack races through the Smithsonian Castle. They even lived in the Castle…until they were kicked out for flirting with the Smithsonian…
TDIH portrait painter Gilbert Stuart is born, Dec. 3, 1755. [portrait miniature of Stuart painted by Sarah Goodridge, collection Smithsonian American Art Museum]
Stuart is most famous for his portraits of George Washington, one of which, the Athenaeum portrait, is the model for the image gracing the U.S. one dollar bill. All of his paintings of Washington were widely reproduced as prints, however in 1800 an engraving of the Landsdowne portrait was published without his consent by the London engraver James Heath - though Stuart had requested from the commissioner of the painting that he should retain all copyright to the image. Not only was the print violating his (requested) copyright, the engraver misspelled Stuart’s name, attributing it to “Gabriel” Stuart. According to Stuart’s daughter, even years later the incident could not be brought up without Stuart becoming angry.
Copying images without proper attribution - not just a problem on tumblr.
Another interesting fact—Gilbert declared this miniature to be the “only true likeness” of him, and valued this work so much that he presented it to his mother, adorned with a bracelet woven from his own, and his wife’s, hair.
Now available online: webcast of the October 4-5 symposium American Art in Dialogue with Africa and its Diaspora
This two-day symposium examines the role of Africa and its diaspora in the development of art of the United States, from nineteenth-century portraiture to American modernism; from the Harlem Renaissance to the contemporary art world.
Albert Laessle, Bronze Turkey, about 1911, bronze on marble base, Smithsonian American Art Museum,Gift of the heirs of Albert Laessle: Mrs. Albertine de Bempt Laessle, Mr. Albert M. Laessle and Mr. Paul Laessle