Born in Princeton, Massachusetts, Edward Savage was a self-taught portraitist. In the mid-1770s, he began his career in Boston and then went to New York to paint George Washington's portrait, commissioned by Harvard University.
In 1790, John Adams commissioned him to do portraits of George and Martha Washington. From 1791 to 1793, he studied abroad and learned the art of engraving and may have studied with Benjamin West. In 1795, he settled in Philadelphia and completed a work, The Washington Family, a panorama over 9 feet long that was the high point of his career. He charged admission to view it, and it was unique because it was the first panorama of the Federalist period. P.T. Barnum became the eventual owner of this work.
Savage died in Princeton, Massachusetts, his birth place, in 1817.
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