The Peale Family

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The Peales are considered the First Family of American art. The family was established in America by the English Charles Peale (1709–50) in 1740 when he married Margaret Triggs (1709–91).

They were active from ca. 1760 to ca. 1880, and their commitment to art during a period of revolution and nation-building contributed in a large way to the growth of American artistic interests and institutions... the portrait painter Charles Willson Peale (first son of Charles Peale), exerted a major influence on American painting through his own work and that of his sons, brothers and nieces. [1] Charles Willson Peale taught all his family to paint — brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, even a few promising in-laws — so that two generations of Peales busily recorded themselves and each other in portraits and miniatures. [2]
Strawberries and cherries by Margaretta Angelica Peale.

Outstanding members:

• Charles Willson Peale and

• James Peale (his brother)

Raphaelle Peale (his son)

Rembrandt Peale (his son)

• Rubens Peale (his son)

• Titian Peale (his son)

• Anna Claypoole Peale (his niece)

• Margaretta Angelica Peale (his niece)

• Sarah Miriam Peale (his niece)

• Charles Peale Polk (his nephew)


Charles Willson Peale (1741 – 1827), the patriarch, was painter, scientist, inventor, founder of museums and art societies; he founded the Philadelphia Museum or the Peale Museum in 1786; later the Peale's Baltimore Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts occupied the first building erected as a museum in the United States; Rembrandt Peale opened this museum on August 15, 1814.

Charles Willson Peale was one of the universal men of the Eighteenth Century, a man whose talent and interests ran in a hundred different directions: inventor, mechanic, silversmith, watchmaker, millwright, patriot, soldier, politician and naturalist. Ibidem


Benjamin West Charles Willson Peale 1767.jpg

Charles Willson Peale by Benjamin West, 1767.

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