Emanuel Leutze

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (May 24, 1816 – July 18, 1868) was a German American history painter best known for his painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. He is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting.

Emanuel Leutze
Emanuel Leutze
BornMay 24, 1816
DiedJuly 18, 1868 (aged 52)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting placeGlenwood Cemetery
NationalityGerman American
EducationJohn Rubens Smith
Karl Friedrich Lessing
Known forHistory painter


Leutze was born in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Württemberg, Germany, and was brought to the United States as a child.[1] His parents settled first in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and then at Philadelphia. His early education was good, though not especially in the direction of art. The first development of his artistic talent occurred while he was attending the sickbed of his father, when he attempted drawing to occupy the long hours of waiting.[2] His father died in 1831.[3] At 14, he was painting portraits for $5 apiece. Through such work, he supported himself after the death of his father.[4] In 1834, he received his first instruction in art in classes of John Rubens Smith,[5] a portrait painter in Philadelphia. He soon became skilled, and promoted a plan for publishing, in Washington, portraits of eminent American statesmen; however, he met with but slight encouragement.[2]


In 1840, one of his paintings attracted attention and procured him several orders, which enabled him to go to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Due to his anti-academic attitude, he studied only one year at the academy (in the class of Director Schadow). Mainly Leutze was affected by the painter Lessing.[6] In 1842 he went to Munich, studying the works of Cornelius and Kaulbach, and, while there, finished his Columbus before the Queen. The following year he visited Venice and Rome, making studies from Titian and Michelangelo. His first work, Columbus before the Council of Salamanca was purchased by the Düsseldorf Art Union. A companion picture, Columbus in Chains, procured him the gold medal of the Brussels Art Exhibition, and was subsequently purchased by the Art Union in New York; it was the basis of the 1893 $2 Columbian Issue stamp. In 1845, after a tour in Italy, he returned to Düsseldorf, marrying Juliane Lottner[3] and making his home there for 14 years.[2]

During his years in Düsseldorf, he was a resource for visiting Americans: he found them places to live and work, provided introductions, and emotional and even financial support.[3] For many years, he was the president of the Düsseldorf Artists' Association; in 1848, he was an early promoter of the "Malkasten" art association; and in 1857, he led the call for a gathering of artists which led to the founding of the Allgemeine deutsche Kunstgenossenschaft.[4]

A strong supporter of Europe's Revolutions of 1848, Leutze decided to paint an image that would encourage Europe's liberal reformers with the example of the American Revolution. Using American tourists and art students as models and assistants, Leutze finished a first version of Washington Crossing the Delaware in 1850. Just after it was completed, the first version was damaged by fire in his studio, subsequently restored, and acquired by the Kunsthalle Bremen. On September 5, 1942, during World War II, it was destroyed in a bombing raid by the Allied forces. The second painting, a replica of the first, only larger, was ordered 1850 by the Parisian art trader Adolphe Goupil for his New York branch and placed on exhibition on Broadway in October 1851.[9] It is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 1854, Leutze finished his depiction of the Battle of Monmouth, "Washington rallying the troops at Monmouth," commissioned by an important Leutze patron, banker David Leavitt of New York City and Great Barrington, Massachusetts.[10]

New York City and Washington, D.C.

Emanuel Leutze grave - Glenwood Cemetery - 2014-09-14
Grave of Emanuel Leutze at Glenwood Cemetery.

In 1859, Leutze returned to the United States and opened a studio in New York City.[2] He divided his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.[11] In 1859, he painted a portrait of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney which hangs in the Harvard Law School. In a 1992 opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia described the portrait of Taney, made two years after Taney's infamous decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, as showing Taney "in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep-set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment."

Leutze also executed other portraits, including one of fellow painter William Morris Hunt. That portrait was owned by Hunt's brother Leavitt Hunt, a New York attorney and sometime Vermont resident, and was shown at an exhibition devoted to William Morris Hunt's work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1878.[12]

In 1860 Leutze was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to decorate a stairway in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, for which he painted a large composition, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, which is also commonly known as Westward Ho!.

Late in life, he became a member of the National Academy of Design. He was also a member of the Union League Club of New York, which has a number of his paintings. At age 52, he died in Washington, D.C. of heatstroke. He was interred at Glenwood Cemetery.[13] At the time of his death, a painting, The Emancipation of the Slaves, was in preparation.[5]

Leutze's portraits are known less for their artistic quality than for their patriotic emotionalism. Washington Crossing the Delaware firmly ranks among the American national iconography, and is thus often caricatured.

Gallery of works

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze - Columbus Before the Queen

Columbus before the Queen (1843)

Mrs. Schuyler Burning Her Wheat Fields on the Approach of the British

Mrs. Schuyler Burning Her Wheat Fields on the Approach of the British


Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth

Leutze, Emanuel — Storming of the Teocalli by Cortez and His Troops — 1848

Storming of the Teocalli by Cortez and his Troops (1848)

Worthington Whittredge in His Tenth Street Studio.jpeg

Worthington Whittredge in His Tenth Street Studio (1865)

Emanuel Leutze William Morris Hunt.jpeg

Portrait of William Morris Hunt (ca. 1845)

General Ambrose Burnside at Antietam by Leutze

General Ambrose Burnside at Antietam (1863)[15]

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, Political Cartoon of the American Civil War, c. 1860s, NGA 181018

Political Cartoon of the American Civil War, c. 1860s, National Gallery of Art


  1. ^ According to one art critic. minor historical inaccuracies in Leutze's painting include the Betsy Ross flag, which was created about one year after the event; soldiers used a different type of boat for the crossing; and Washington is depicted older than he was at the time of the crossing at age 44. The soldiers' uniforms are accurately depicted, and the painting correctly conveys colonial unity and pride.[7]  The official United States flag was adopted by Congress on June 14, 1777.[8]


  1. ^ Marter, Joan M. (2011). The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. Oxford University Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-19-533579-8.
  2. ^ a b c d Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1892). "Leutze, Emanuel" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  3. ^ a b c Witthoft, Brucia; et al. (1982). American Artists in Düsseldorf: 1840–1865. Framingham, Massachusetts: Danforth Museum. pp. 14, 32.
  4. ^ a b Moritz Blanckarts (1883), "Leutze, Emanuel", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 18, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 500–502
  5. ^ a b Groseclose, Barbara (1999). "Leutze, Emanuel Gottlieb". American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ Wolfgang Müller von Königswinter: Düsseldorfer Künstler aus den letzten fünfundzwanzig Jahren. 1854, S. 139.
  7. ^ Parrish 2014.
  8. ^ Preble 1880, p. 259.
  9. ^ Barratt, Carrie Rebora (2011). Washington Crossing the Delaware. Restoring an American Masterpiece. MET publications. S. 7.
  10. ^ "Washington at Monmouth," American Heritage Magazine, June 1965, AmericanHeritage.com Archived 2008-06-08 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Downes, William Howe (1933). "Leutze, Emanuel". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  12. ^ Exhibition of the Works of William Morris Hunt, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, John C. Dalton, Alfred Mudge & Son, Boston, 1879
  13. ^ Heiderstadt, Dorothy (1970). Painters of America. New York: D. McKay Co. p. 88.
  14. ^ Metcalfe, Peter M., ed. (1991). "History, State Designations and Superlatives". Alaska Blue Book (Tenth ed.). Juneau: Alaska Department of Education, Division of State Libraries, Archives and Museums. p. 227.
  15. ^ Harrington, Peter. "Emanuel Leutze's Portrait of General Ambrose Burnside at Antietam". Brown University Library. Retrieved 8 May 2015.

Additional References:

  • Wierich, Jochen. Grand Themes: Emanuel Leutze, "Washington Crossing the Delaware," and American History Painting (Penn State University Press; 2012) 240 pages; Argues that the painting was a touchstone for debates over history painting at a time of intense sectionalism.
  • Hutton, Anne Hawkes (1975). Portrait of Patriotism: Washington Crossing the Delaware. Radnor, Pennsylvania: Chilton Book Company. ISBN 0-8019-6418-0.
  • Irre, Heidrun. Emanuel Gottlob Leutze: Von der Rems zum Delaware, einhorn-Verlag+Druck GmbH, Schwäbisch Gmünd 2016, ISBN 978-3-95747-033-1 https://einhornverlag.de/shop/buecher/von-der-rems-zum-delaware/
  • New International Encyclopedia

External links

1816 in art

Events in the year 1816 in Art.

1848 in art

Events from the year 1848 in art.

1851 in art

Events from the year 1851 in art.

1868 in art

Events from the year 1868 in art.

Christopher Columbus Before the Council of Salamanca

Christopher Columbus Before the Council of Salamanca is an 1841 painting by the German-American artist Emanuel Leutze, now in the Louvre in Paris. It was lent to the Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon in 2014 for its exhibition L'invention du Passé. Histoires de cœur et d'épée 1802-1850..

David Leavitt (banker)

David Leavitt (August 29, 1791 – December 30, 1879) was an early New York City banker and financier. As president of the American Exchange Bank of New York during the Financial Panic of 1837 he represented bondholders of the nascent Illinois and Michigan Canal, allowing completion of the historic canal linking the Midwest with the East Coast. For his role in helping prevent the collapse of the canal scheme, Chicago authorities named Leavitt Street after the financier. Leavitt was also an early art collector, and many of the artist Emanuel Leutze's paintings, including that of Washington at Valley Forge, were initially in Leavitt's collection housed at his Great Barrington, Massachusetts estate.


Düsseldorf (UK: , US: , German: [ˈdʏsl̩dɔɐ̯f] (listen); often Dusseldorf in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian: Düsseldörp [ˈdʏsl̩dœɐ̯p]; archaic Dutch: Dusseldorp) is the capital and second-largest city of the most populous German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne, as well as the seventh-largest city in Germany, with a population of 617,280. At the confluence of the Rhine and its tributary Düssel, the city lies in the centre of both the Rhine-Ruhr and the Rhineland Metropolitan Regions with the Cologne Bonn Region to its south and the Ruhr to its north. Most of the city lies on the right bank of the Rhine (as opposed to Cologne, whose city centre lies on the river's left bank). The city is the largest in the German Low Franconian dialect area (closely related to Dutch). "Dorf" meaning "village" in German, the "-dorf" suffix (English cognate: thorp) is unusual in the German-speaking area for a settlement of Düsseldorf's size.

Mercer's 2012 Quality of Living survey ranked Düsseldorf the sixth most livable city in the world. Düsseldorf Airport is Germany's third-busiest airport after those of Frankfurt and Munich, serving as the most important international airport for the inhabitants of the densely populated Ruhr, Germany's largest urban area. Düsseldorf is an international business and financial centre, renowned for its fashion and trade fairs, and is headquarters to one Fortune Global 500 and two DAX companies. Messe Düsseldorf organises nearly one fifth of premier trade shows. As second largest city of the Rhineland, Düsseldorf holds Rhenish Carnival celebrations every year in February/March, the Düsseldorf carnival celebrations being the third most popular in Germany after those held in Cologne and Mainz.There are 22 institutions of higher education in the city including the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, the university of applied sciences (Hochschule Düsseldorf), the academy of arts (Kunstakademie Düsseldorf) (Joseph Beuys, Emanuel Leutze, August Macke, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, and Andreas Gursky), and the university of music (Robert-Schumann-Musikhochschule Düsseldorf). The city is also known for its pioneering influence on electronic/experimental music (Kraftwerk) and its Japanese community.

Düsseldorf school of painting

The Düsseldorf school of painting refers to a group of painters who taught or studied at the Düsseldorf Academy (now the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf or Düsseldorf State Art Academy) in the 1830s and 1840s, when the Academy was directed by the painter Wilhelm von Schadow. The work of the Düsseldorf School is characterized by finely detailed yet fanciful landscapes, often with religious or allegorical stories set in the landscapes. Leading members of the Düsseldorf School advocated "plein air painting", and tended to use a palette with relatively subdued and even colors. The Düsseldorf School grew out of and was a part of the German Romantic movement. Prominent members of the Düsselorf School included von Schadow, Karl Friedrich Lessing, Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, Andreas Achenbach, Hans Fredrik Gude, Oswald Achenbach, and Adolf Schrödter.The Düsseldorf School had a significant influence on the Hudson River School in the United States, and many prominent Americans trained at the Düsseldorf Academy and show the influence of the Düsseldorf School, including George Caleb Bingham, David Edward Cronin, Eastman Johnson, Worthington Whittredge, Richard Caton Woodville, William Stanley Haseltine, James McDougal Hart, Helen Searle, and William Morris Hunt, as well as German émigré Emanuel Leutze. Albert Bierstadt applied but was not accepted. His American friend Worthington Whittredge became his teacher while attending Düsseldorf.

Eugene Henry Cozzens Leutze

Eugene Henry Cozzens Leutze (16 November 1847 – 1 September 1931) was an admiral of the United States Navy.

Johan Georg Schwartze

Johann Georg Schwartze (October 20, 1814 - August 28, 1874) was a painter from the Northern Netherlands who grew up in Philadelphia and was trained in Düsseldorf and the Düsseldorf school. He was a painter of portraits and historical themes and became the father of painter Therese Schwartze and the sculptor Georgine Schwartze.

At the age of three his family left Amsterdam for Philadelphia, where his father began a paint and varnish factory. There the young Johann was taught by Emanuel Leutze. In 1838 he returned to Europe and spent six years at the Düsseldorf Academy under Von Schadow and Sohn. At the same time, he took private lessons from the landscape-painter Lessing. In 1846 in Koblenz he married Maria Elisabeth Therese Herrmann. They had four daughters and a son. Besides the painter Thérèse and the sculptor Georgine, their son George Washington also became an artist. Another daughter, Clara Theresia, became the mother of the artists Lizzy Ansingh and Thérèse Ansingh (artist name Sorella). In 1845 he was back in Amsterdam where he became a member of the Koninklijke Academie and in 1847 he became a member of Arti et Amicitiae. He is known for portraits, landscapes, and genre works. Besides his children he is known as the teacher of the painter Maria Vos.He died in Amsterdam and was buried 2 September 1874 in the Oosterbegraafplaats, the old cemetery. This cemetery closed before 1900, most bodies removed by 1955 and is now a park and museum with no grave markers. His remains may have been moved to 'De Nieuwe Ooster' where his daughter Theresa is buried.


Leutze may refer to:

Emanuel Leutze (1816–1868), painter of American Revolutionary War scenes

Eugene H. C. Leutze (1847–1931), admiral of the United States Navy

USS Leutze (DD-481), United States Navy destroyer named in honor of the admiral

Minnesota Marine Art Museum

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) is an art museum in Winona, Minnesota, United States, specializing in marine art. The MMAM features five galleries of world-class art and artifacts including impressionism and Hudson River School paintings, marine art, folk art sculptures and traveling exhibits. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the museum is located in a unique, turn-of-the-century-style building and landscaped with over 60,000 native plants.

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States is a famous oil-on-canvas painting by Howard Chandler Christy, depicting the Constitutional Convention signing the U.S. Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Along with Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, the painting is one of the most famous depictions of the early days of the United States. Christy created the painting in April 1940; it is so large (20 × 30') that he painted it in a sail loft. It currently is displayed along the east stairway in the House of Representatives wing in the Capitol building.


A teocalli (Nahuatl: "God-house") is a Mesoamerican pyramid surmounted by a temple. The pyramid is terraced, and some of the most important religious rituals in Pre-Columbian Mexico took place in the temple at the top of the pyramid.

The famous, although no longer extant, Aztec Huey Teocalli ("Great Temple," Spanish, Templo Mayor) was located next to what is now Mexico City's main square, the Zócalo. A famous 1848 painting by Emanuel Leutze depicts "The Storming of the Teocalli by Cortez and his Troops," which Leutze painted four years before his classic "Washington Crossing the Delaware."

The Storming of Teocalli by Cortez and his Troops

The Storming of the Teocalli by Cortez and his troops is an 1848 oil on canvas painting by the German American history painter, Emanuel Leutze.

Washington Crossing

Washington Crossing may refer to:


Washington's Crossing, the location in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a U.S. National Historic Landmark

Washington Crossing State Park, Titusville, New Jersey

Washington Crossing, New Jersey

Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania

Washington Crossing Historic Park, Pennsylvania

Washington Crossing BridgeA historical event:

Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, a famous American Revolutionary War event that took place on the night of December 25–26, 1776Art and literature about the event:

Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851 painting), a painting by Emanuel Leutze commemorating the crossing

Washington Crossing the Delaware (sonnet), a sonnet by David Schulman about the scene in the painting

Washington's Crossing (book), a book by David Hackett Fischer

The Crossing (2000 film), an A&E television movie starring Jeff Daniels as George Washington

Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851 painting)

Washington Crossing the Delaware is an 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by the German-American artist Emanuel Leutze.

It commemorates General George Washington during his famous crossing of the Delaware River with the Continental Army on the night of December 25–26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. That action was the first move in a surprise attack against the German Hessian allied mercenary forces at Trenton, New Jersey, in the Battle of Trenton on the morning of December 26.

The original was part of the collection at the Kunsthalle in Bremen, Germany, and was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1942, during World War II. Leutze painted two more versions, one of which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The other was in the West Wing reception area of the White House in Washington, D.C., but in March 2015, was put on display at The Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, Minnesota.

Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way

Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (also known as Westward Ho) is a 20-by-30-foot (6.1 m × 9.1 m) painted mural displayed behind the western staircase of the House of Representatives chamber in the United States Capitol Building. The mural was painted by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze in 1861 and symbolizes Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States was destined for Western exploration and expansion originating from the initial colonies along the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. A study measuring 33 1⁄4 by 43 3⁄8 inches (84.5 cm × 110.2 cm) hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.The darkness turning into light represents the greatness that was believed to lie in the future West.

Theologians and
Visual artists

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