Originally created 05/24/04

Portrait of George Washington sells for $6.2 million

NEW YORK -- A Charles Willson Peale portrait of George Washington has sold for $6.2 million, a record for the artist.

The portrait, sold at Christie's auction house on Tuesday, shows Washington as commander of the Continental Army after the Yorktown campaign that led to the British surrender in the Revolutionary War. It was once owned by the Chevalier Francois-Jean de Chastellux, a French general who served in the Continental Army.

The painting, which was bought by an American private collector over the telephone, was presented to the Chastellux family in 1782 by Washington himself, Christie's said.

Peale is believed to have begun the portrait in 1780, first painting Washington with an alternate background. Peale later repainted it with the Yorktown background after the 1781 battle.

Peale was the most prominent American painter of the Revolutionary period. The previous record price for one of his works was $5.3 million in 2002 for another Washington portrait.

The price for the painting that sold Tuesday includes Christie's 12 percent commission.


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