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Minnesota Marine Art Museum unveils key version of 'Washington Crossing the Delaware'
Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851. Oil on Canvas. Private Collection. Courtesy of Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

WINONA, MINN.- The Minnesota Marine Art Museum unveiled a key version of Emanuel Leutze’s great 1851 masterpiece, Washington Crossing the Delaware, possibly the most famous and iconic American painting of all time. Leutze painted three versions of his famous image. The earliest version was destroyed in Germany during World War II. A near replica is one of the most visited and treasured works of art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s authentic version, measuring 40.5 x 68 inches, has descended with a distinguished provenance in private ownership for 164 years. For most of the past 40 years, from the presidencies of Richard Nixon to that of Barack Obama, it has been on loan and prominently displayed at The White House, Washington, D.C.

Perhaps no other nineteenth century painting is so recognized around the world as Leutze’s iconic and inspiring image of George Washington leading his troops across the icy Delaware River to an epic Christmas Night victory over British Troops at Trenton, New Jersey.

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s version, one of only two extant paintings by Leutze of his iconic subject of Washington Crossing the Delaware crossed the Mississippi!

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum unveiled Washington Crossing the Delaware, recently acquired by the Burrichter/Kierlin Collection, in the Museum’s exceptional galleries of American art, on the west bank of the Mississippi River in bucolic Winona, Minnesota. This version of Washington Crossing the Delaware has its own exceptional history, having been previously exhibited at the New York Crystal Palace in 1853, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1854 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1895. It now takes its place in one of the nation’s premier collections of Hudson River School era paintings, along with masterworks by Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, John Frederick Kensett, Frederic Church, Jasper Cropsey and Martin Johnson Heade and many other important figures.

Indeed, in the past 5 years the Minnesota Marine Art Museum has emerged as “a world-class collection of European and American water-inspired paintings.” James Gardner, writing for The Magazine Antiques, noted the “excellence and variety of works on view…and the result is a world-class collection.” “Charting New Waters” is a handsome full color book featuring some of the masterpieces to be found at the museum. It is a nice surprise that the essays are written by no less than a who’s who of current scholars: Annette Blaugrund, Stephen Brown, John Driscoll, Barbara Dayer Gallati, Joseph D. Ketner II, Elizabeth Kornhauser, Leo G. Mazow, Barbara Novak, Allen Staley and Sally Webster. In 2014 the American Alliance of Museum’s recognized “Charting New Waters” with an Honorable Mention as one of the top museum publications of the year. This collection and the book are stunning achievements for a small, new museum which is clearly realizing big aspirations.
With the installation of Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware, the Minnesota Marine Art Museum unveils one of the greatest paintings in the history of American art, and the ultimate American marine painting.

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