Charles Willson Peale was the leading portrait painter in America for many years. He taught painting to several generations of his family and, in 1795, helped to establish a small art school in Philadelphia. The development of a science museum absorbed his middle years, but later in

life he returned to painting. At age eighty-one he produced this affectionate portrait of his brother, James, showing the retired miniaturist gazing fondly at a portrait miniature of Rembrandt Peale’s oldest daughter, Rosalba, painted by Charles's daughter, Anna. The portrait miniature, “a picture within a picture,” is also in the DIA collection (acc. no. 53.345).
Artist Charles Willson Peale, American, 1741-1827
Title
  • James Peale
Date 1822
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Framed: 35 1/8 × 43 7/8 × 4 inches (89.2 × 111.4 × 10.2 cm)
Unframed: 24 1/2 × 36 inches (62.2 × 91.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from Dexter M. Ferry, Jr.
Accession Number 50.58
Department American Art before 1950
On View American W271, Level 2 (see map)
Peale Museum (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA);
Augustin Runyon Peale, Jr.;
Herbert Raphaelle Peale;
Adele Peale Conway
1950, dealer, Edward A. Newman (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA);
1950-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Sellers, Charles Coleman. "Charles Willson Peale." The American Philosophical Society 2 (1947): p. 352.

Richardson, Edgar P. The Art Quarterly 13, 4 (1950): p. 348 (ill.).

________________. "A Portait of James Peale, the Miniature Painter (The Lamplight Portrait), by Charles Willson Peale." Bulletin of the DIA 30, 1 (1950-51): pp. 8-11.

Sellers, Charles Coleman. "Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale." Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 42, 1 (1952): p. 166.

Paintings by the Peale Family. Exh. cat., The Cincinnati Art Museum. Cincinnati, 1954, no. 31.

Pennsylvania Painters. Exh. cat., The Mineral Industries Gallery. University Park, PA, 1955, no. 8.

Let Thee By Light. Exh. cat., The Wadsworth Atheneum. Hartford, 1965, no. 214.

Elam, Charles H., ed. The Peale Family: Three Generations of American Artists. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1967, no. 7.

____________________. Charles Willson Peale: A Biography. New York, 1969, p. 403.

Flexner, James Thomas. The Light of Distant Skies: American Painting, 1760-1835. New York, 1969, pp. 104-105. [reprint]

Cummings, Frederick J., and Charles H. Elam, eds. DIA Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 134.

Sesquicentennial Exhibition, Part 1. Exh. cat., The Cummer Gallery. Jacksonville, FL, 1972, no. 10.

Wilmerding, John, ed. The Genius of American Painting. London, 1973, pp. 94, 95.

Rivard, Nancy. "American Paintings at the Detroit Institute of Arts." Antiques 114 (November 1978): p.
1044.

Charles Willson Peale and His World. Exh. cat., The National Portrait Gallery. Washington, D.C., 1983, pp. 99-100, 104, no. 74.

100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 192-193 (ill.).

Miller, Lillian B. "In the Shadow of His Father: Rembrandt Peale, Charles Willson Peale, and the American Portrait Tradition." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 110, 1 (January 1986): p. 44 (fig. 26).

Shaw, Nancy Rivard, et. al. American Paintings in the Detroit Institute of Arts, Vol. 1: Works by Artists Born Before 1816. New York, 1991, cat. 67, pp. 152-154. (col. ill.).