Sarah Miriam Peale is considered the first American professional woman artist. She is the youngest daughter of James Peale (American painter of miniatures and still life paintings) and Miriam Claypoole. Her childhood was spent in Philadelphia along with her parents and three sisters. In addition to her father, Sarah belonged to a very prestigious family of artists including Rembrandt Peale, cousin, Charles Wilson Peale, uncle, and Anna Claypoole Peale, sister.
Her father and uncle, Charles, trained her as an artist. Sarah worked in her father’s studio and learned how to mix paints, prepare canvases and delineate backgrounds. She also gained experience by doing the finishing touches to her father’s paintings. Exhibiting extraordinary talent from an early age, Sarah was admitted as the first women student to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, PAFA, where she became proficient at painting both still lifes and portraits.
Sarah Miriam Peale is well known for painting portraits of political leaders of her era including Senator Hart Benson and the Marquis de Lafayette. She painted for decades and was able to earn her living from her work.
Sarah has works on display at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the National Portrait Gallery, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Peale Museum, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, among many other prestigious locations.
Mother and Child, c. 1840s
Oil on Canvas, 49" x 39"