Archibald Willard, Yankee Doodle, 1776 16"x20"
SKU ID #292612
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His most famous painting was originally painted as a 8 x 10 mural and he named it "Yankee Doodle." It was painted for the first Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia. His mural was started in 1875 in an upstairs bedroom in his home. It was soon decided that a move to a professional studio would be appropriate and he moved to Cleveland and took up residence in the studio of Willis Adams. As a result of the move, Willard's father Samuel, became the model for the old drummer.
After the mural was shown several times, it was suggested that he change the name from "Yankee Doodle" to avoid the association with its origins as a British song used to poke fun at the Americans. The suggestion was "The Spirit of '76" and Willard reluctantly agreed. Historically, the Yankee Doodle tune was created by the British but it was quickly adopted by the Americans as theirs and it quickly became an expression of American patriotism. Willard painted several smaller versions of what had became known as "The Spirit of '76."
Archibald Willard became famous as a result of his mural and be was a founding member of the Cleveland Arts Club. His painting has often been copied and parodied and is one of the most famous images relating to the American Revolutionary War. He continued to paint and show his works until his death in 1918.