Gilbert Charles Stuart (born Stewart; December 3, 1755 – July 9, 1828) was an American painter from Rhode Island Colony who is widely considered one of America's foremost portraitists. His best-known work is an unfinished portrait of George Washington, begun in 1796, which is sometimes referred to as the Athenaeum Portrait. Stuart retained the portrait and used it to paint scores of copies that were commissioned by patrons in America and abroad. The image of George Washington featured in the painting has appeared on the United States one-dollar bill for more than a century and on various postage stamps of the 19th century and early 20th century.
Stuart produced portraits of more than 1,000 people, including the first six Presidents. His work can be found today at art museums throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, most notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Frick Collection in New York City, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the National Portrait Gallery, London, Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The subject of this paper is a portrait of the celebrated eighteenth-century dancer, Auguste Vestris, acquired by Tate in 1955, …