A painting that hangs in the White House from the 1970s to 2014 is now up for auction in May 2022 – and it’s estimated it could fetch $20million.
This is according to a source at Christie’s and as reported by Reuters.
The 1851 oil painting is one of three versions Emanuel Leutze painted of George Washington – who became America’s first president – leading troops during a crucial development during the American Revolution.
Only two of Leutze’s three paintings of this iconic event survive.
The first version was destroyed in a World War II air raid in Germany, Paige Kestenman, American art specialist at Christie’s New York, told Reuters.
“The second is the monumental work that is the centerpiece of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the third is this work here,” Kestenman said.
The version at the Met, Reuters noted, measures 12.4ft x 21.25ft (3.78m x 6.48m). The painting going on sale May 12 is smaller than that – about 3ft (0.9m) by 6ft (1.83m).
For decades it hung in the White House, mostly in the West Wing Reception Room.
The artwork depicts Washington leading soldiers across the Delaware River to surprise infantry hiding on the other side on Christmas night 1776, Kestenman said.
“A German-born American immigrant, Leutze was also a staunch abolitionist, and in ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware,’ he deliberately included a variety of characters that make up the crucible that formed the American nation,” Kestenman said.
So why were Washington and members of his Continental Army trying to cross an ice-choked Delaware River on a cold winter night, anyway?
“It wasn’t just to get to the other side,” as MountVernon.org noted.
“Washington’s objective was to conduct a surprise attack on a Hessian garrison of about 1,400 troops located in and around Trenton, New Jersey. Washington hoped that a quick victory at Trenton would bolster his army’s morale and further encourage of men to join the ranks of the Mainlanders come the new year,” the site also explained.
“After several councils of war, General George Washington fixed the date for the crossing of the river for Christmas night, 1776.”
For anyone wanting more details, a Fox Nation special, “Washington’s Christmas Crossing,” hosted by Fox News Channel’s Pete Hegseth, shares the fascinating story of this evening and the reenactment that takes place each year.
The December 2021 reenactment marked the 241st anniversary of Washington’s famous voyage down the Delaware River, as Fox News Digital previously reported.
the crossing – which turned the tide of the Revolutionary War – is the culmination of the annual event that draws thousands to the banks of the river in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and Titusville, NJ
“It was hopeless. They were definitely losing the war, and this was one last bold move to try and turn the tide,” he added. a Fox Nation contributor said Hegseth.
HOW THE CONTINENTAL ARMY SPENT AMERICA’S FIRST CHRISTMAS
The effort to get almost 2,000 soldiers across the Delaware River from Washington was led by Colonel John Glover and his unit of “Marbleheaders”.
The full episode of Pete Hegseth “Washington’s Christmas Crossing” is available on fox nation.
Painter Emanuel Leutze was born in Württemberg, Germany, and brought to the United States as a child in 1825, according to the Grove Encyclopedia of Art.
The artist’s parents settled first in Fredericksburg, Virginia, then in Philadelphia.
Fox News Digital’s Amy Nelson contributed to this report.