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Painting installation to be celebrated with Presidents Day event

A significant and valuable painting depicting an important moment in America’s fight for independence has arrived on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, and its installation will be officially celebrated with a Presidents Day event at 5 p.m. Feb. 17 in the Class of 1950 Lecture Hall.

The painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” by the late, nationally acclaimed portrait artist Robert Bruce Williams, is an authorized copy of the 1851 painting by Emanuel Leutze, which is held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. On loan to Purdue from the Washington Crossing Foundation, the painting recently arrived at Purdue from California, where it has been on display in the Nixon Presidential Library. Another copy of the original painting hangs in the West Wing of the White House in Washington, D.C.

At the Presidents Day event, President Mitch Daniels will provide remarks and be joined by Purdue faculty members David Parrish, professor of art history, and Franklin Lambert, professor of history. The speakers will discuss George Washington’s contributions to the nation’s founding, the historical context of the event depicted in the painting, and a historical perspective on the painting as an art form and a portrait of military history.

“We are honored that the Washington Crossing Foundation and the family of Ann Hawkes Hutton chose Purdue to host this marvelous painting,” Daniels said. “The painting documents a pivotal moment in American history and the establishment of democracy in the world.”

The painting, now hung in the Class of 1950 Lecture Hall at Purdue, was commissioned in 1969 by Hutton in memory of her late husband, Leon John Hutton. Leon John Hutton was a 1929 graduate of the Purdue University College of Science, a Purdue athlete in football and track, and a World War II veteran who served as a Navy officer.

The event is free and open to the public.