Washington Crossing the Delaware

Among the most recognizable paintings in American history, it could sell for as much as $20 million when it goes to auction next month, after hanging in the White House for 35 years.

Painting of Washington standing a the front of a boat being rowed across the Delaware river
"Washington Crossing the Delaware" | Credit: Christie's

German-American painter Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 depiction of George Washington and the Continental Army crossing the Delaware River during the American Revolution has appeared in millions of students’ history textbooks, on stamps and even on the New Jersey state quarter.

It will go to auction at Christie’s next month in New York, where it’s expected to sell for between $15 and $20 million.

The painting previously hung in the White House for about 35 years while on loan from Detroit millionaire industrialist Richard Manoogian, spanning from President Richard Nixon’s administration through Barack Obama’s two terms in office, when it was often displayed in the West Wing lobby.

In 2015, billionaire Robert Kierlin and his wife Mary Burrichter announced they purchased the painting for an undisclosed sum, and loaned it to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, Minnesota, which the couple founded. They have now decided to put it up for sale.

The 40-by-68 inch painting is a smaller version of the roughly 12-by-21 foot painting that hangs in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, where it is one of the collection’s most popular paintings.


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