Born in Princeton, Massachusetts, Edward Savage was a self-taught painter and engraver. He began his career painting commissioned copies of portraits by John Singleton Copley, and later painted original ones, including those of George and Martha Washington in 1789-1790. From 1791 to 1793, Savage studied abroad, possibly with Benjamin West in London. In 1795, he settled in Philadelphia and opened the Columbian Gallery, which sold paintings and prints. In 1801 he relocated the Gallery to New York, where in addition to paintings and prints, it offered natural history exhibits. Finally, in 1810, Savage relocated one last time to Boston, Massachusetts. Although a painter and engraver, it is as one of the first proprietors of a paintings gallery in the United States that Savage is most remembered.