Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816-1868) was born in southern Germany and then came to live in America at the age of 15. It was here in the States that Leutze began painting. Leutze set off for Washington at the age of 20, on January 17, 1837. The outcome of his trip was inevitable. Because of the sudden financial panic of 1837, and the busyness of the politicians, there was no time to conduct the sittings, which meant no painting of any heads. . So, Emanuel headed home feeling great disappointment. Little did he know that fourteen years later his work Washington Crossing the Delaware would be acclaimed enthusiastically on both sides of the Atlantic. He could not see that this painting would be the most popular painting in all of America and be reproduced more than any other historical scene. Leutze was buried at Glenwood Cemetery in the city he called home.

In 1860 Leutze was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to decorate a stairway in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, for which he painted a large composition, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, which is also commonly known as Westward Ho!.

Late in life, he became a member of the National Academy of Design. He was also a member of the Union League Club of New York, which has a number of his paintings. At age 52, he died in Washington, D.C. of heat stroke. He was interred at Glenwood Cemetery.

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