US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Born Oct. 15: John Vanderlyn

October 15, 2015 03:30 AM

  • The 1893 2¢ Columbian stamp is one of many that show John Vanderlyn's painting Landing of Columbus.

American painter John Vanderlyn was born Oct. 15, 1775, in Kingston, N.Y., which is situated in the Hudson Valley between Albany to the north and New York City to the south.

Vanderlyn studied at Kingston Academy before moving to New York City, where he studied art with Archibald Robertson. He then traveled to Philadelphia and continued his studies under portrait artist Gilbert Stuart.

With help from Aaron Burr, Vanderlyn studied in Paris for five years, returning briefly in 1801 before leaving for Rome in 1803. After finding success in Italy and France, he returned to the United States in 1815 and painted portraits of prominent men, including George Washington, Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor.

His final large work was Landing of Columbus, showing Christopher Columbus with members of his crew setting foot on a West Indies beach on Oct. 12, 1492. This painting was featured on the 15¢ stamp in the 1869 Pictorial series (Scott 118-119) and the 2¢ stamp in the 1893 Columbian Exposition set (231). Almost 100 years later, the same scene was featured on a 29¢ commemorative stamp (2616), and on the 2¢ stamp in the Voyages of Columbus souvenir sheet set (2625a).

Vanderlyn’s portrait of Andrew Jackson in his military uniform was reproduced on the printed liner for the 2015 Battle of New Orleans forever stamp in the War of 1812 series (Scott 4952).