Tags: george washington | portrait | unfinished | dollar bill

George Washington Portrait Unfinished: Story Behind Dollar Bill Image

By    |   Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 07:38 PM

The portrait of George Washington on the current U.S. one-dollar bill is actually an unfinished work by the artist Gilbert Stuart.

Stuart painted several portraits of the first U.S. president, but the one that is on today’s one-dollar bill was commissioned by Washington’s wife, First Lady Martha Washington.

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“This particular portrait had originally been commissioned by Martha Washington along with a companion portrait of herself to hang by its side,” according to information posted on UShistory.org. “In the course of painting, George Washington passed away and the Martha portrait was never even begun. Stuart found he could make more money ‘knocking’ out copies of his portraits and selling those.”

According to the U.S. Senate’s website, the portrait of Washington that is on the one-dollar bill was an oil painting done by Stuart in 1796 when Washington was 64 years old and is referred to as the “Chestnut portrait” or “Athenaeum head.”

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The one-dollar bill was first issued in 1862. The current design, featuring Washingtong's portrait, began circulation in 1963.

“The current design of the United State one dollar bill ($1) technically dates to 1963 when the bill became a Federal Reserve Note as opposed to a Silver Certificate,” says OneDollarBill.org. “However, many of the design elements that we associate with the bill were established in 1929 when all of the country’s currency was changed to its current size.”

In 1957, the one-dollar bill was the first U.S. currency to have “In God We Trust” printed on it.

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The portrait of George Washington on the current U.S. one-dollar bill is actually an unfinished work by the artist Gilbert Stuart.
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Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 07:38 PM
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