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Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Reading Room
Currently closed

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Wedding & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

In-person Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 20 or fewer. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Visiting Artist Series

Bringing the world’s top glass art talent to Hampton Roads
Find out more

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Reading Room
Currently closed

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Wedding & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

In-person Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 20 or fewer. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Visiting Artist Series

Bringing the world’s top glass art talent to Hampton Roads
Find out more

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

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November 4, 2021

Object of the Week: Portrait of a Lady (Harriet Cany Peale), A Gift from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

–Corey Piper, PhD, Brock Curator of American Art

Rembrandt Peale (American, 1778-1860), Portrait of a Lady (Harriet Cany Peale), ca. 1840, Oil on canvas, mounted on panel, Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., 71.687

Rembrandt Peale seemed destined for an artistic life. His father, the prominent painter-turned museum-keeper Charles Willson Peale, bestowed upon him a distinguished name from the history of art and trained him from a young age in the art of portraiture. At age seventeen, Rembrandt painted a portrait of George Washington from life alongside his father. When the elder Peale retired from painting to devote himself more fully to running his museum, he recommended his son to the public as his successor in the realm of portraiture. Rembrandt supported himself, in part, by making copies after his most famous portrait of Washington known as the “Patriae Pater” portrait, as seen in a print which was included in Walter P. Chrysler, Jr’s 1971 gift to the City of Norfolk. His rewarding but nomadic career landed him stints in cities throughout the United States, including Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, where he settled by 1831.

It was in Philadelphia that Peale met the subject of Portrait of a Lady (Harriet Cany Peale), also a gift from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. Harriet Cany was a fellow artist whom Rembrandt would wed on November 6, 1840. That same year, Cany exhibited her work at the Artist’s Fund Society, where this portrait was also likely on view along with Rembrandt’s own self-portrait. Harriet Cany Peale would go on to exhibit regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts throughout the next two decades. She sometimes exhibited copies after paintings, like the Chrysler’s Ideal Portrait, a copy after a painting by Rembrandt Peale that is now lost.

The couple nurtured a strong and loving relationship centered on their love of the arts. The two painters often worked beside each other, and Harriet likely contributed to the production of Peale’s Patriae Pater portraits, which accelerated after 1840. She also continued to develop her own independent artistic acumen in portraiture, seen in the sensitive depiction of her husband in a portrait from 1848 now at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Harriet Cany Peale (American, ca, 1800–1869), Ideal Portrait, ca. 1843–48, Oil on canvas, Gift of Mr. Edward J. Brickhouse, 64.513

Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. purchased Portrait of a Lady (Harriet Cany Peale) from David David, Inc., a Philadelphia Gallery, sometime between 1967 and 1971 when it was gifted to the City of Norfolk. It’s not clear whether Chrysler sought out the painting for its resonance with the example of Harriet Cany Peale’s work already in the collection or admired it simply as a superb example of one of early America’s premier portraitists. Regardless of his original intentions, the prudent addition enhanced the Museum’s representation of the Peale family within the collection, joining a trio of portraits by family patriarch Charles Willson Peale, which the Museum received in the 1960s, and a portrait of George Washington by Charles Peale Polk, Charles Willson’s son and Rembrandt’s cousin.

 

From the Collection