"Dr. John Wakefield Francise" (1875) Oil on canvas, view size 26 1/2" x 20" c.1823
As one of the most famous and celebrated portrait artist in the history of this country it is nearly impossible to summerize this mans life in the space available. He was the second child of Charles Wilson Peal's 14 children. Of the legendary Peale family of artists Charles Wilson and his son Rembrandt were and continue to be the most famous and saught after. Not only was Rembrandt a painter, he was a writer, lithographer and a natural history lecturer. He founded the Municipal Museum in Baltimore. He was the president of the American Academy and was a founding member of the National Academy of Design. During his time, Rembrandt Peale was on of the worlds premier portrait painters and painted numerous statesmen including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. He was the last artist to paint George Washington's portrait during the Presidents lifetime. One of his Washington portraits hangs in the Capitol Building. His work can be found in 70 museums in this country alone. Tomes have been written about the Peale family as well as Rembrandt Peale himself. As documented in Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide, as much as 3.7 million dollars has been paid for a Rembrandt Peale portrait. The popularity and value of this legend's art continues to grow as 2004 was a record year for Rembrandt Peale art sales. The sitter for this portrait is an equally prominent figure in American history. DR. John Wakefield Francis (1789-1861) of New York was the first graduate of The College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City which was later to combine with Columbia Medical College where he was later to become a full professor. He founded the original Rutgers Medical College as well as the New York Academy of Medicine where he was elected it's president twice. He was a writer, researcher, teacher, philanthropist, philosopher as well as one of the most highly regarded physicians of early America. This painting is not only a masterfully executed Peale portrait but an important piece of American history. It was part of the IBM art collection and hung in its corporate headquarters for many years.