Description

    Original Watercolor Study of Meade by Ole Peter Hansen Balling, painted in the field and signed at the time by Meade

    George G. Meade, (1815-1872), Union General, victor at Gettysburg, an original watercolor bust portrait of Meade signed "Geo. G. Meade Maj. Gen[eral] Com[mandin]g. A[rmy of the] P[otomac].", 9" x 11", "H[ead] Q[uarter]rs A[rmy of the]. P[otomac]" [likely near City Point, Virginia], October 12, 1864. This chest-up portrait was accomplished by noted Norwegian-born artist Ole Peter Hansen Balling, (1823-1906), who also signs the portrait "H. Balling". Balling is, perhaps, best known for his heroic oil painting, Grant and His Generals, which depicts Grant riding triumphantly beside twenty six of his generals, including Meade, and which was completed in 1865; it hangs at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. In order to complete that dramatic work, Balling traveled to Union army encampments and composed from-life studies of his subjects. In the autumn of 1864, he spent five weeks in and around City Point, Virginia for the purpose of painting portraits of Grant, and his field officers. He also painted Philip Sheridan while the latter was in service in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as William Sherman and George H. Thomas, in Washington, after the war. The finished painting was published to raise funds for the Sanitary Commission, a private organization for aiding sick and wounded soldiers. After comparing this sketch of Meade for inclusion in Grant and His Generals, with the final work, we are confident that this was the study used. Meade adds a note at the bottom right: "Sketched at the Hd. Qrs. A.P. Octr. 12, 1864" Ole Peter Hansen Balling was born in Oslo, and emigrated to New York in 1856. He also painted portraits of John Brown, James Garfield, and Chester A. Arthur, all of which hang in the National Portrait Gallery. Provenance: the Oliver R. Barrett Lincoln Collection, Parke-Bernet Galleries, February 20, 1952, Lot 520. Feint toning along light crease, some minor age wear but the color remains quite vibrant and bears a very bold and dark signature. Fine condition.

    Please Note: A similar study of General Winfield Scott Hancock by Balling also appears in this catalog. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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