George Washington (On a Stick)

Valerie Hegarty, American, born 1967



Foamcore, paper, paint, glue, gel medium and a forked stick

Overall: 89 × 34 × 30 in. (226.1 × 86.4 × 76.2 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Ninah and Michael Lynne

© 2006 Valerie Hegarty



Place Made: United States, North America


21st century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


By repurposing an iconic portrait of George Washington, artist Valerie Hegarty says she “creates a commentary on the formation of American identity, with the disfigured portrait revealing the return of repressed and darker elements of American history.” Washington’s remarkable financial, military, and political success relied on the direct exploitation of at least 577 people he enslaved during his lifetime. Known as Hanödaga:yas (Town Destroyer) by the Haudenosaunee, Washington and his army demolished Native American villages to forcefully take their lands. Instead of suppressing these realities in a luminous portrait, Hegarty’s artwork grapples with how to portray Washington’s violent legacy. He is precariously propped on a stick, appearing as fragile as the incomplete history often told. 

Comparative illustration at bottom of label: Gilbert Stuart, George Washington, begun 1795, oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 24 1/4 in. (76.8 x 64.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1907.

From the 2022 exhibition Historical Imaginary, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

Studio Art 16.01, Sculpture I, Matt Siegle, Winter 2023

Studio Art 16.02, Sculpture I, Matt Siegle, Winter 2023

Film Studies 42.23, Travelers and Tourists, Heidi Denzel, Spring 2023

History 63.02, Reading Artifacts: The Material Culture of Science, Whitney Barlow Robles, Spring 2023

Exhibition History

Historical Imaginary, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 17, 2022-November 12, 2023.

Valerie Hegarty: Seascape, Guild & Greyshkul, New York, September 16 - October 21, 2006


The artist, PS 122 subsidized artist studio, East Village, New York, New York, 2006, as part of grouping of work for 2006 show at Guild & Greyskul titled "Seascape"; Anonymous gift; given to present collection, 2018.

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