Thursday, July 8, 2010

'Prayer at Valley Forge' Painter, Arnold Friberg, Dead at 96

Arnold Friberg, the painter who is best known for his patriotic portrait of George Washington kneeling in prayer beside his horse in the snowy woods near Valley Forge, Pa., died on July 1 at the age of 96. 

"Prayer at Valley Forge" is one of my all-time favorite paintings.  You really get a feel for Washington's faith and the battles he was enduring.  What a great American and leader!

In order to capture the realistic setting for his 1975 painting "The Prayer at Valley Forge", Mr. Friberg studied Washington's uniform at the Smithsonian Institution and later hiked to the Pennsylvania banks of the Schuylkill River in the middle of February.

To "recall the pain, and the cold of that cruel winter," he removed his gloves and sketched the snow-covered tree limbs until his fingers froze.

"I did that to pay tribute to Washington, to portray the burden that fell upon one lonely man," Mr. Friberg told the Salt Lake Tribune in 2000. "I'm a hero worshiper. I have to respect, almost idolize, whatever I paint."

"The Prayer at Valley Forge" is among the most reproduced paintings in the world, and a copy of it was displayed in the White House during the Reagan administration. The original was recently valued at more than $12 million and is on exhibition at the first president's home at Mount Vernon. is an independent site and is not affiliated with any official web sites, associations, or organizations associated with President Reagan. Any views expressed or content included on this site do not necessarily reflect the views, positions, or opinions of any of the organizations or individuals named, linked, or advertised.

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