Radicals and Revolutionaries: America’s Founding Fathers

  • Engraved by Valentine Green, after a painting by John Trumbull, George Washington, 1781, mezzotint with engraving on laid paper, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg.

    Engraved by Valentine Green, after a painting by John Trumbull, George Washington, 1781, mezzotint with engraving on laid paper, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg.

  • Jean-Antoine Houdon, Portrait Bust of John Paul Jones (1747–1792), cast 1787–89, plaster with terracotta paint, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by John F.  Bookout III, Frank J.  Hevrdejs, Jeffery D.  Hildebrand, and Robert B.  Tudor III at “One Great Night in November, 2014.”

    Jean-Antoine Houdon, Portrait Bust of John Paul Jones (1747–1792), cast 1787–89, plaster with terracotta paint, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by John F. Bookout III, Frank J. Hevrdejs, Jeffery D. Hildebrand, and Robert B. Tudor III at “One Great Night in November, 2014.”

Opening March 10, Radicals and Revolutionaries: America’s Founding Fathers at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, features paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the MFAH collections—including 18th-century selections from Bayou Bend and Rienzi—along with several works from other Houston collections. 

During the American Revolution and the early years of the United States, great artists on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean produced images of leaders, and of military and political events, that were disseminated throughout the world. American artists such as Gilbert Stuart and John Trumbull established their artistic reputations by painting portraits and battle scenes. These images defined the nation’s visual identity and character, shaping the meaning of American independence while providing a visual roadmap from colony to country. 

George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and other “founding fathers” became icons of the revolution and the architects of a new nation. In addition to these famous figures, many others played critical roles in the events and outcomes of the American Revolution. This exhibition tells that larger story through a transatlantic lens that features patriots, loyalists, and colonists, including Native Americans, African Americans, and women, as well as the English Parliament and monarchy.

 

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