Robert E. Lee as Superintendent, US Military Academy, Oil on Canvas

Oil on canvas, 24.5 x 35 in. (sight), housed in gilt and gesso frame with etched foliate design in each corner, 30 x 40 in. Artist unknown, n.d. With modern inked note on board backing stating that the painting is after a portrait produced in 1855 by Robert Walter Weir (American, 1803-1889), an artist and Professor of Painting and Drawing at the United States Military Academy. The portrait also looks to be inspired by the three-quarter life-size painting of Lee done by artist Ernest L. Ipsen (American, 1869-1951), which was presented to West Point in 1931. 

A commanding portrait showing Robert E. Lee wearing the uniform of a Colonel of Engineers, the temporary rank he carried when he was appointed Superintendent of the Military Academy. In Robert E. Lee, Jr.'s Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, he discusses his father sitting for Professor Weir, which took some convincing on the part of family and friends. Lee wrote, "As far as I remember, there was only one sitting, and the artist had to finish it from memory or from the glimpses he obtained as his subject in the regular course of their daily lives at 'The Point'...many think it a very good likeness." Soon after this sitting, Lee received a long-awaited promotion as second-in-command of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Texas, thus turning over the superintendency of West Point to his successor, John Gross Barnard.


Some minor surface wear to frame. Painting in very fine condition. 

Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us

Let Cowan's Handle Your Shipping!

Cowan's is one of the only houses to offer full service, in-house shipping. Please note shipping costs are factored by weight and size, not purchase price. Larger items like furniture may incur a higher shipping charge. Our experts pack and ship over 5,000 purchases each year. Shipping costs are included on every invoice to make getting your items as fast and easy as possible. For more information, click HERE or contact shipping@cowans.com