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Anna Peale

 (1791 - 1878)
Anna Claypoole Peale was active/lived in Pennsylvania.  Anna Peale is known for still life, miniature portrait.

Anna Peale

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Biography from the Archives of askART

Anna Claypoole Peale was born in Philadelphia on March 6. 1791.  Anna was one of six children (all but one of them girls) of James Peale (1741-1827), a portrait painter and brother of the better-known artist Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827).  The Peale's had a close association with many other members of the Peale family of painters.  Anna Peale, the miniaturist, was represented in the first exhibit held at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1811 with a "Fruit Piece" and in 1814 with a "Frame containing three miniatures."  On Nov. 15, 1817, Charles Wilson Peale wrote that, "Anna in miniature is becoming excellent," praise which would not be lightly given from such an eminent artist.  The following year in 1818 her uncle Charles Peale took her with him to Washington to share his studio and paint miniatures on ivory where at the time they were very desired.  He was quoted in a letter to Angelica Peale Robinson, dated Sept. 23, 1818 as saying "Her merit in miniature painting brings her into high esteem, and so many Ladies and Gentlemen desire to sit with her that she frequently is obliged to raise her prices".

Anna painted some of the most influential people in the country during her esteemed career including President Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay and many others.  She was known to have painted "high society" in Baltimore and Boston as well.  Anna Peale's success was largely owing to a variation of her own upon the pleasant and successful style of portraiture developed within the family.  Her subjects stood out in stark contrast to the dark background that she often employed to give warmth and intimacy to her sitters, something so important in the private art of miniature, but noted one authority " which had too often been lacking in her father's rather stylized ivories."  This technique she employed, background color contrast, also created a more centralized focus on the sitter, always a good effect in portraiture.

She was elected as an Academician of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts in 1824, an honor bestowed on few women of the time.  She exhibited regularly at the academy until 1842, when, following her second marriage, she retired from professional portrait painting.  Her first marriage ended upon the death of her husband, Rev. William Staughton, he died in December of the same year.  On June 10, 1841 she became the third wife of Gen. William Duncan.  There were no children by either marriage.  She continued to paint recreationally for most of her life doing portraits for friends and family as well as still lifes for her own amusement.  She died on Dec. 25, of 1878.

Blake Benton Fine Art

Biography from the Archives of askART

The following was written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher form Laguna Woods, California:

Anna Claypoole Peale was born on March 16, 1791 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She was the daughter of James Peale and Mary Chambers Claypoole and one of their six children.  Her formal education is unknown but she received an invitation from portrait painter Thomas Sully to attend a series of "anatomical lectures as relating to the arts" and her intention was to go to all of them if possible.  At fourteen years of age Anna copied a painting by Vernet and sold it at auction for a good price.  Her father urged her to become a portrait painter and she studied with him, specializing in portrait miniatures.

In 1818 and 1819, Anna traveled to Washington with her elderly uncle, Charles Willson Peale.  He noted that she more easily obtained commissions for portraits than he.  From around 1820, Anna divided her career between Philadelphia and Baltimore.  At the same time her career escalated, she trained her only student in miniature technique: her niece, Mary Jane Simes.

In August 1829 Anna married the Reverend William Staughton in Philadelphia.  She fully expected to give up her profession as a miniature painter.  En route to Kentucky where he was to be President of a new Baptist institution, Georgetown College, Staughton became quite ill.  He died in Washington on December 12, 1829.  Anna was married again in 1841 to a Philadelphia philanthropist, retired Brigadier George William Duncan.  Anna ceased to paint miniatures, and oils which she never really enjoyed.  She survived her husband who died in 1864.  Her sister, Sarah Miriam Peale came to live with her and Anna died on Christmas Day, 1878.

From the Internet, American National Biography

Biography from the Archives of askART
Primarily a miniaturist much commended by her uncle Charles Willson Peale, Anna Claypoole Peale had a lively style with complex brush strokes that emphasized the skin tones of her subjects against, dark rich backgrounds. Her work created a sense of warmth and intimacy.

She was the older sister of portraitist Sarah Peale and the daughter of James Peale, and most of her career she lived in Philadelphia. Sometimes she shared commissions with Sarah, doing the miniatures and Sarah the larger canvases. Anna also assisted her father with his miniatures when his eyesight began to fail and helped with the backgrounds of his canvases.

When she was a young woman just beginning her career, her uncle Charles took her to Washington D.C. to share a studio, and to his surprise, she received more commissions than he did including Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and President James Monroe. She was so committed to her painting that her eyesight suffered, and she had to take long periods of rest.

In 1829 at age twenty-eight, she briefly gave up painting during her first marriage to Reverend Dr. William Staughton, a Baptist minister and college president. When he died three months after their marriage, she devoted herself to her career until her second marriage in 1841 to General William Duncan. She outlived him as well and continued painting until late in life.

Source: American Women Artists by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein

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About  Anna Peale

Born:  1791 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:   1878 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Known for:  still life, miniature portrait