The 1932 Washington Bicentennial Issue features a 3-cent violet stamp of Washington. For this stamp, the creators originally considered using a design featuring Washington next to his wife Martha. This image was abandoned in favor of a portrait of Washington wearing military apparel and a cocked hat. The picture, a representation of Charles Wilson Peale’s painting from Valley Forge, was more in line with Postmaster General Brown’s desire to depict the nation’s first president as a military leader.
Peale was another prolific individual in the history of American art, regarded as one of the greatest portrait painters of the revolutionary period. He was born in Maryland and studied under Benjamin West in London. Peale served in the Continental Army and moved to Philadelphia after the war. While in the City of Brotherly Love, the artist befriended important revolutionary figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.