|Mary Cassatt, by Edgar Degas, oil on canvas, c. 1800-1884, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.84.34, Washington, DC|
In 1971, the Catalog of American Portraits commenced a national portrait survey of public and private collections throughout the United States. However, the CAP has developed a broader international program, which includes American artists portraying foreign figures as well as foreign artists depicting Americans in the United States and abroad. American artists were drawn to Europe to attend art schools, study masterworks at museums, and interact with their foreign contemporaries. Many American artists visited or resided in Europe, including George Catlin, John Singleton Copley, Richard Diebenkorn, Frank Duveneck, George Peter Alexander Healy, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, John Singer Sargent, Benjamin West, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who became influential leaders abroad. The greatest interaction between American and European artists took place in the cities of London, Paris, Munich, and Rome. Benjamin West was appointed historical painter to King George III in 1772 and he served as President of the Royal Academy of Arts in London from 1792 until his death in 1820. Benjamin West’s influence drew a circle of American artists to England as his students, including Mather Brown, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, and John Trumbull. From 1831-1833, the artist and inventor Samuel Finley Breese Morse created the famous painting, Gallery of the Louvre, which featured portraits of his contemporaries at the Salon Carré gallery of the Louvre Museum in Paris.
|George Catlin, by William Fisk, oil on canvas, 1849, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.70.14, Washington, DC |
European public collections have a wealth of portraits related to American interest, with the greatest concentration in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. Among the public collections of American origin are the American Museum in Britain, Bath; the National Museum of Franco-American Cooperation at the Château of Blérancourt; the American Academy in Rome; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice; the Guggenheim Collections in Bilboa, and Berlin; and the Terra Foundation for American Art in Giverny, and Paris. However, American portrait collections abroad are also situated within the national collections of foreign countries, including the Tate Collection and the National Portrait Gallery in London; the Louvre Museum and the Orsay Museum in Paris; the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome; and the State Russian Museum in Saint-Petersburg.
|Abraham Lincoln, by George Peter Alexander Healy, oil on canvas, 1887, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.65.50, Washington, DC|