rosalba peale

Portrait of Rosalba Peale (c.1820). Rembrandt Peale (American, 1778-1860). Oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Rembrandt Peale tutored his daughter Rosalba (1799-1874) in art and raised her as an independent and strong-minded woman. Although “Rosa” had many suitors, she refused to wed “the everyday man” and did not marry until she was sixty-two years old. In this portrait, made when she was in her early twenties, Rosalba’s pensive expression conveys the alert mind and thoughtful conversation that won the admiration of others.

The Sisters (Eleanor and Rosalba Peale) [1826]. Rembrandt Peale (American, 1778-1860). Oil on canvas. Brooklyn Museum.

In this glowing portrait of two of his nine children, Peale paid equal tribute to their sisterly love and to their embrace of the family tradition of an artistic calling. Pressed against each another, with arms delicately linked, Rosalba Peale and Eleanor Peale Jacobs sit before a tapestry-covered table on which a palette and volume of music rest. The talented Rosalba, a constant aid in her father’s work, holds a drawing tool in her hand.