Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860)
Sabina Wolfe Brackenridge
1810 – 1820 (Date created)
34 ½ in W
39 ½ in H
3 ¼ in D
23 ⅝ in W
28 ¾ in H
DescriptionSabina Wolfe Brackenridge (born in 1770), daughter of a German-speaking Washington County farmer, was the second wife of Hugh Henry Brackenridge, whom he married in 1790.
Portrait of Hugh Henry Brackenridge's second wife. Both portraits have identical dimensions and frames.
Exhibition LabelSabina Wolf was Brackenridge's second wife, married in 1790, three years after losing his first wife. She was the daughter of a German-speaking farmer in Washington County. She was portrayed by Rembrandt Peale, an important American portraitist who worked in the Neo-classical tradition. Just like Gilbert Stuart, whom he admired greatly, Peale is known for his own version of George Washington's portrait, Patriae Pater, completed in 1824.;Hugh Henry Brackenridge and his wife, Sabina Wolfe Brackenridge, were portrayed by two eminent American artists at the turn of the 19th century: Gilbert Stuart and Rembrandt Peale, known for their portraits of the first Presidents of the United States-an indication of the sitters' status among elites of the time.
Brackenridge emigrated from Scotland to Pennsylvania in 1753 as a young boy. A school headmaster, a lawyer and later a judge in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, as well as a novelist, he is remembered as a contributor to Pittsburgh's early social and economic development, by founding the Pittsburgh Gazette (in 1786), now the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as well as the Pittsburgh Academy (in 1787), now the University of Pittsburgh. In 1790, while on the road, Brackenridge stayed in a German farmer's home in Washington County, where he met his daughter, Sabina Wolfe. It is said that after their wedding, Brackenridge sent her to Philadelphia to "refine her manners". Rembrandt Peale portrayed her in elegant attire and with delicate manners, quite suitable for the wife of a reputable man. Yet the setting is which she is depicted remains simple, in comparison to the drape in the background of her husband's portrait, as well as the book he is holding, elements of his social status.
-from exhibition label for Face Value (fall 2012)
Gift of Dr. George Clapp
Purchased in 1938 from the ex-collection of the Brackenridge family
From University Archives:
Title: Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, John Gabbert Bowman, Administrative Files
Collection Number: UA.2.10.1921-1945
Creator: University of Pittsburgh. Chancellor.
Box 1, Folder 5
Please note that cataloging is ongoing and that some information may not be complete.