"American Flags" by Dennis Lyall, Original Oil Painting on Canvas Board, 1988

This original oil painting on canvas, entitled American Flags, was painted by Dennis Lyall in 1988. The work originally appeared in the Fleetwood Triptych panel for the U.S. Flag stamps series. Lyall signed the work underneath the rightmost flag. Presented in a simple black archival frame, the painting depicts several variations of the American flag throughout the country’s history. 

Dennis Lyall, the artist, was born in Iowa and attended the University of Kansas. As a student, Lyall was awarded a Gold Medal by the Society of Illustrators. Afterwards, he worked as an illustrator for many years on advertisements for companies such as Nabisco, National Geographic Magazine, and NBC. Lyall is perhaps most known for his contributions to stamp design. Overall, the U.S. Postal Service has issued 34 stamps using his designs. This painting is one such example of his artwork that was used for the U.S. Flags stamp series. Lyall has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Society of Illustrators in New York City and his works are part of the permanent collections of the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Air Force, and more. 

Artfully depicting several variations of the American flag, this painting reminds us that the flag we know today is only one of many different flags throughout the country’s history. Flags such as the Liberty Tree Flag, the Grand Union Flag, the well-known Betsy Ross Flag, and the Bennington Flag are shown. As the American Revolution began and colonists were searching for unifying symbols, many rallied beneath different flags that never became official. One such flag was the Liberty Tree Flag with its white field, green pine tree and motto, “An Appeal to Heaven.” This flag was first flown above a group of cruisers under the command of George Washington in 1775. Later, Col. Joseph Reed attempted to make this the official Naval flag so that ships can recognize one another. Another flag depicted is the Grand Union Flag (also called the Continental Colors) with thirteen red and white stripes and a union jack canton. This version was used by George Washington in 1776 and is also considered the first American flag by many. Stars wouldn’t be officially added to the canton until June 14, 1777. Searching for appropriate symbols for a country is perhaps the most difficult task after forming a government. The United States flag has a muddled history amidst the revolution and multiple versions existed at multiple times. There is even debate about where the famous Betsy Ross flag fits into the timeline. This painting is a charming reminder of how we got to the stars and stripes we know today and the diverse designs of the past. 


Overall very good condition. Oil on canvas. The colors are vibrant and there is no notable damage. Presented in an archival frame.

Framed dimensions: 25 1/4"H x 51"W x 1"D

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