Emanuel Leutze Art Prints

Leutze was the son of a mechanic who emigrated for political reasons to Virginia and then to Philadelphia. Leutze studied drawing with John A. Smith in Philadelphia, beginning to paint portraits about 1837. By 1840, he was successful enough to become the pupil of Lessing in Dusseldorf. By 1842, he had learned the fashionable style of painting historical scenes in a huge and realistic format. When his first attempt was bought by the Dusseldorf Art Union, he maintained his studio there for almost 20 years. In 1848, he began his most famous work Washington Crossing the Delaware. He used American visitors as models. Whittredge posed as Washington: "Clad in full uniform, I was nearly dead. They poured champagne down my throat and I lived through it." The studies for the ice on the river were made at the Rhine. The painting was intended to encourage German radicals after their failure in the Revolution of 1848. In 1859 Leutze returned to the US to paint Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way as a mural in the Capitol's House of Representatives. Complete in 1862, it was based on a sketching trip to the Rockies and involved a return to Germany for advice on mural techniques. The critical view was that his combination of history and allegory produced confusion increased by the realism of the treatment. This was the climax of the Dusseldorf era in American art.

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