The reason that he got a sitting with Washington was that his father was Charles Wilson Peale, a very prominent American artist, a friend of the revolution. On the morning of the sitting, he (Rembrandt) was so frightened about confronting the great man, that he said he could barely mix his colors. And so his father had to come along to hold his hand, so to speak.
You might call him a promiscuous sitter, ... He would sit for just about any artist in the last 10 years of his life. He sat for ... George Caleb Bingham, who was virtually an unknown artist. Adams recorded in his diary that he didn't think he was going to make a good likeness or a good picture. But as far as I am concerned, he did both.
Johnson, for starters, was not good at the sittings. At one, he fell asleep. At another sitting, he would not sit still -- he was pacing and was too busy talking with one of his advisers. And then in the final chapter, at the private unveiling of this portrait at the Johnson ranch, the first thing that Johnson said was, 'That's the ugliest thing I have ever saw.' And so ended the ... sweet relationship between Johnson and Herd.