Channeling George Washington — And Stevan Dohanos

George Washington really did sleep here.

But that’s not what today’s we-missed-President’s Day-by-a-day post is about.

It’s about the famous “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting — and what famed (and cited-just-Sunday-on-”06880″) Westport illustrator Stevan Dohanos did with it.

"George Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Stevan Dohanos

This is the Saturday Evening Post cover of February 24, 1951. It comes courtesy of former Westporter Bill Banks, who posted it on Facebook.

And here’s the back story, courtesy of the Saturday Evening Post webpage. (Believe it or not, they’re still publishing. Who knew?)

It is daunting to consider the work realist painter Stevan Dohanos put into this painting. Reproducing images of over a dozen students (and their teacher) with meticulous detail should have been artistic challenge enough, but duplicating Emanuel Leutze’s famous 1850 painting is mind-boggling.

Much has been criticized about Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware: “The crossing was at night (not daytime)”; “That particular version of the flag came later”; and “Washington was only in his 40s and not the elderly man we see here”; to name a few.

While the historical inconsistencies are worth noting, the huge 21-by-12-foot painting of that 1776 Christmas night is still a magnificent accomplishment and a tribute to a critical turning point in American history. The painting today is part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

From 1942 to 1958 Dohanos painted 123 Post covers, which can be viewed in our online gallery or at art.com.

Happy birthday, George! (It’s Friday).

And congratulations, Stevan. Your work lives on.

3 responses to “Channeling George Washington — And Stevan Dohanos

  1. U. Zooelly N. Trouble

    And tomorrow we’ll see the lesser known but equally inspired painting of Bill Banks crossing the Saugatuck.

  2. Larry Bartimer

    can you include a link on your website or the emailed version of your updates to send automatically to our Facebook page to share ??

  3. I was a classmate of Linda Dohanos from 3rd grade through high school … I wonder if she is the artist’s daughter, and how she’s doing?