This elegant portrait of Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869) was painted by Thomas Sully in 1831, when Rebecca was 50. The painting descended through the family of Sara Gratz Moses, the daughter of Rachel Gratz and Solomon Moses. Rebecca Gratz had raised Sara and her siblings after Rachel died in childbirth when Sara was five.
Rebecca Gratz was a prominent Philadelphia philanthropist; among the many organizations she helped found were the Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances, the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum, the Hebrew Sunday School, and the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society. One of the students she taught in the Sunday School was the Rosenbach brothers’ mother, Isabella Polock Rosenbach. The Rosenbach Museum & Library owns a second portrait of Rebecca, also painted by Thomas Sully in 1831, which descended in the family of her brother Benjamin Gratz.