Declaration of Independence


Replica of the Declaration of Independence – William J. Stone Engraving, 1823
40 x 35 inches, One for each U.S. embassy, Gift of David M. Rubenstein

In 2013, David Rubenstein made a gift to FAPE and the State Department of a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence for each U.S. embassy. The gift was presented by Mr. Rubenstein to Secretary of State John Kerry and FAPE Chairman Jo Carole Lauder at FAPE’s State Department Dinner on Monday, April 29, 2013. Mr. Rubenstein, a preeminent collector of historical documents related to American history, acquired an original version of the 1823 Stone Declaration of Independence, which he has generously loaned to the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms.

“Without doubt, the most symbolic document of our country’s founding principles is the Declaration of Independence,” Mr. Rubenstein said. “I am pleased that – because of FAPE’s great work – our embassies will shortly be displaying this symbol of our nation and its commitment to freedom and equality.”

In his gift to FAPE, Rubenstein’s copy of the 1823 Stone Declaration of Independence will be reproduced and placed in custom handmade frames in an edition large enough so one can be sent to each U.S. embassy. The frame design is modeled after the Colonial style of Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741-1827), renowned painter, Revolutionary soldier and Co-Founder of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. To date, Peale’s frame is the only known surviving original frame associated with the 1823 Stone copy of the Declaration of Independence. The symbolic ornaments and aesthetic choices of the frame’s design, first identified by preeminent frame historian and former Smithsonian conservator William Adair, are remnants of the spirit of the American Revolution.

“Mr. Rubenstein’s gift embodies the greatest qualities of the American spirit – its freedom of expression, innovation and creativity – qualities FAPE supports through its work with American artists,” said FAPE Chairman Jo Carole Lauder. “We are honored to receive this gift and thrilled to share it with the broader diplomatic and international communities in U.S. embassies around the world.”

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