Object Image

Sarah Miriam Peale, 1800-1885

Giving them names like Raphaelle, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Titian, Charles Willson Peale left no doubt as to what he expected his children to become. He also named his daughters after famous European women artists – Sophonisba Angusciola, Rosalba Carriera, and Angelica Kauffman – and taught those who survived early childhood to paint, along with his brother, nieces, and nephew. Many went on to work as professional artists.

You can see a silhouette of Angelica Kauffman Peale by Moses Williams in the Peale Gallery. Angelica moved to Baltimore when she married Alexander Robinson. Despite his wealth, Robinson never came to the aid of Rembrandt’s struggling museum enterprise, dismissing the Peales as "showmen."

Her cousin, Sarah Miriam Peale, whose self-portrait you can also see in the Peale Gallery (pictured), became one of the first women of European descent to make her living as a professional artist in the United States. She came to Baltimore starting at age 17 to paint and study with Rembrandt. They worked in the third floor galleries whose extra tall doorways allowed large canvases, like Rembrandt’s 12 ft. tall masterpiece, The Court of Death, to be carried in and out.

You can learn more about silhouette artist and creative entrepreneur, Moses Williams, in this room and in the Moses Williams Center.

Reproduction of Oil Painting
Sarah Miriam Peale, Self-portrait, ca. 1818; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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