America of course has a very recent art history. Here some of the most valuable work was done by primitive or naive artists in the late 17th and early-mid 19th century before the advent of photography. These artista while their perspective was often weak often did provide very detailed reproductions of clothing in their portaits which is of emense value in assessing historical fashion trends. Perhaps the American artist most associated with children is Mary Cassat. Of course the greatest American portratist has to be John Singer Seargent, but unfortunately he painted only a small number of children. This is, of course, only a preliminary list. We hope that HBC readers will suggest other American artists that we should included on this list.
Over time we have developed an extensive list of American artists, including foreign-born immigrants. Until mid-centyury virtually all trained artists werre foreigners or Americans who studied in Europe. Here are the American artists that we have found. Of course these are the artists which have left portraits and genre works with images of children that can be useful in assessing period fashions or assessing childhood in different periods. This is of course especially important in the period before the invention of photography. Unfortunastely many early works, especially early-19th century naive paintings are unsigned. We continue to add artists to our list. These artists have left us an invaluable social record.
Ambrose Andrews is believed to have been born at West Stockport, Massachusetts. (There are other dates for Andrews, suchas 1801 for his birth,) He was an itinerant portrait, miniature, and landscape artist. He did family portataits as well as some of the first sports paintings. He briefly studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts in New York (1824). Students there practiced drawing from sculptures. After less ctha na year of study, he began his paintung career. He largely lived and operated in the Northeast, but traveled widely, including New Orleans, St. Louis, Texas, Canada, and Lonndon (1859). He painted portraits of Henry Clay and Sam Houston. Although having very limitrd actual training, he was no naive artist. And you can see this in one of one of his best known works is 'The children of Nathan Starr'. Starr was an arms manufacturer in Connecticut (1835). This was called a conservation piece--meana group ninvolved in conversation or some activity--rare outside of New England at the time.
Joseph Badger was an important portrait artist in colonial Boston, Massachusetts. He is kniown to have painted at least 80 portraits of colonial Massachusetts notables (merchants, businessmen, clergy, and others) and their wives and children. Joseph was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts near Boston (about 1707). His father was tailor Stephen Badger. His mother was Mercy Kettell. Badger married Katharine Felch (1731). They moved to Boston (1733).
The family joined the Brattle Street Church. He began working as a house-painter and glazier and when portrait commissions were not to be had continued painting houses. In addition to his portraits, he painted signs, hatchments and other heraldic devices. Badger is important not only for his wonderful, if naive, portraits of Massachusetts motables and their family, but for the record of popular fashion, including a few children. We notice a portrait of James Basdger, presumably his son or perhaps even a grandson. Badger reportedly influenced the youthful John Singleton Copley who would taken American portrature out of the naive tradition.
We note a painting, "Portrait of a Boy" done about 1905 by Elizabeth Gowdy Baker. She was particularly known for her portraits. We know thing about Baker except that she was the founder and president of the Society of Acquarellists.
We have little information about American artist George Baker Jr., other than his life span. We do note a beautiful portrait done of four American children done in 1853. We do not yet know which the childrn are. The children look go be four boys, but we are not positive about the younger child wearing a white dress.
Henry Benbridge was an artist of the first order at atime that there was only a handul of proficent portraitists in the Colonies/United States. He was born in Philadelphia. He studied in Rome and London. When he returned to America he settled in Charleston, South Carolina (1772). He was reportedly the leading Charleston artist (1770s and 80s and into the 90s). Charleston was at the time a wealthy city with a fashion-conscious population. The Hartley family is one of his best-known nd beautifully executed works, depicting three female generations of the same family. They are also beautifully dressed in sumptuos fabrics and dresses. They are posed in generic setting hacing nothingv go do with the city whee they lived. One art critic suggests thatthe spatial setting was designed to show the march of time, further emphasized by the linked hands and arms. We ve not yet found, however, any detils about the family. The clothing and fact that Benbridge devoted such time and energy on the portrait clearly shows that they were a very wealthy part of the city elite.
This prolific American artist was born in Salem, Massachusetts during the Civil War, 1862. He is noted as an impressionist painter of New England seascapes and landscapes. He commonly posed his wife and children in his landscapes to add a human dimension. He also did many hunting scenes, making his work notable to a community that often does not concern itself with art. He lived much of his life in Salem. the Massachusetts port famous for the 17th century witchcradt trials. He would endlessly trek through through the
countryside around Salem looking for suitable subjects, especially wildlife. Art historians credit him for establishing the American sporting print a distinctive art form. His work with his family in particular provide several useful images of children's clothing. Although not what he was best known for, he produced several striking images of childhood.
George Caleb Bingham was an American artist whose genre paintings of American life of the in the early frontier lands along the Missouri River. George was born in August County, Virginia (1811). The family moved to Franklin, Missouri when George was still young (1819). Missouri on the west bank of the Mississipi River at the time was the frontier. It would be one of the first states to enter the Union a year later as part of the Missouri Compromise (1820-21). George's father died soon after the family settled in Missouri and the famuly moved to Arrow Rock. Bingham as a teenager became an apprentice to a cabinetmaker in Boonville (1827). He fecided he wanted tob be an artist. He was largely self-taught. He studied briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He then tried making a living from painting portrits and also did genre paintings of frontier life. He began painting just as Daguerreotype photography appeared. But photography was at first almost exclusively portrait photography. Bingham's work provides wonderful genre view of the pre-Civil War frontier lands. He also painted some Civil War scenes. He painted in the Luminist style. He was not in the 19th century given much attention, perhaps because his portrait work was not destinctive, Bingham was was rediscovered in the 1930s and today is one of most important American artists providing us realistic views of mod-19th century America. He did not focus particularly on childre, but they are mixed in with the people in his genre scenes, especially boys.
This American primitive artist painted many New England portraits, providing valuable information on individual fashion in a period in which photography was just beginning to provide images. We have virtually no information on E.W. Blake. He was one of a group of American primitives who worked in the Prior-Hamblin style, including William M. Prior, Sturtevant J. Hamblin, William E. Kennedy, and George Hartwell.
Alfred Boisseau was born in Paris France. His life is not well documented. He was raised in a well-to-do family. He began art training as a teenger under Paul Delaroche (about 1840). This was at the time one of the most respected studios in Paris. He seems to have emigrated to America after finishing his studies. His career as a result is largely associated with America. At the time he reached America there were few trained artists. He is noted for his drawing skills. His interest in photography may be associated with its usefulness as a drawing aid. He created some wonderful mid-19th century genre scenes, aeriod when photography was still primarily studio work. Boisseau began working in antebellum New Orleans (1845). His brother worked at the the French Consulate. We note some wonderful genre works of children in rural areas, including Native Americans, blacks, and Creoles. He worked in many areas. New Orleans where he first arrived seem to have been a favorite place. Some of his best known paintings were done there, including 'The doll peddler'). After the Civil War he mostly worked in Canada and the northern states. Boisseau liked to work from life rather than a studio. Presumably he did his portraits in studios. he was also very interesteded in photography. He was adaguerreotypist in Cleveland, Ohio (1852). He also advertized as a portrait and landscape painter, art teacher, and art dealer. He moved to Montreal as the United States was spiraling toward civil war (1860). There he opened the first of what would be come three photographic studios. The third was opened (1868). Less is known about his later life. We know he was still exhibiting portrait and genre works at the Royal Canadian Academy (1884).
John Brewster was an naive American artist. He was born in Hampton, Connecticut. He was a deaf-mute who was able to work with some success as an itinerant portraitist. He was especially noted for children's portraits. He was active in coatal areas of New England. One 1804 portrait shows a todler boy in an Empire dress.
Mary Cassat was the first great American woman artist. Perhaps the artist most associated with wonderful images of childhood is the American impressionist artist Mary Cassatt. Mary was the daughter of an affluent Pittsburgh businessman, whose French ancestry had inspired him with a passion for his ancestrial home. It was natural therefore that Mary, with her interest in art, would be drawn to France. As much as we admire Cassatt's work, we have not given her great attention in HBC. Cassat's wonderful works offer little information on children's clothing. This is primarily because she primarily focused on very young children in non descript clothing or infants being bathed. As a result, they often do not include depictions of period clothing in which we are primarily interested. There are, however, a few interesting images of older children in period clothes.
Joseph Goodhue Chandler was born in South Hadley, Massachusetts (1813). He was a naive American portrait painter. He began as an intenerate artist in New England. As a boy, he probably apprecticed and trained as as a cabinetmaker. In his teens about 1827-32 he traveled to Albany, New York. There he studied painting with William Collins. He must have begun painting soon after, but his earliest portraits for some reason date from 1837 and are mostly of family members. Soon after his father passed away. He purchased his brother's share of the family farm and was able to supplement his income. He does not seem to have actively farmed but seems to have rented the land out. He married Lucretia Ann Waite (1820–1868) from Hubbardston, Massachusetts (1840). She was an already established painter. She appears to have 'finished-up' some of Joseph's portraits and collaborated on others. Art historians believe that it was after their marriage that Chandler seems to have begun actively working as an itinerant portraitist. That helps to date the portaits to the 1840s. While he signed most of his portraits, apparently only a few were dated. His work is of special interest to HBC because he painted so many children and while the images are not great art, the clothing is painted in great detail. Some of his portaits look more like the 1830s to us based on their clohing, but the art historians presumbly have reasons for dating then to the 1840s on. We note that there are some portraits dated to the late-1830s. He concentrated on western Massachusetts where he and hus wife grew up. They established a studio in Boston (1852). Lucretia Waite Chandler's work was exhibited at the Boston Atheneum. Unfortunately for Chandler and other naive artists at the time, the adventb of photography afected the market for their work. We do not notice many of his portraits that look like they were painted much beyond yhe 1860s. The Chandlers returned to Hubbardston (1860). They spent the rest of their lives there. Chandler died (1884).
William Merritt Chadse is an important American portrait artist. He was born in 1849. (1849-1916). American painter. He studied art in Munich. At the time there were few places for serious artists to study in America. Munich was an important art center in Europe. He returned to America to both paint and teach art. He was tremendously influential. He taught at the Art Students' League of New York, a major influence on American art. He founded his own school--the Chase School of Art (1896). He promoted the idea of painting in the open air.
Chase is noted for vigorous brush work and bold colors. This approach can be seen in the work of many early 20th century American artists. Some of his best known students students were Demuth, O'Keefe, and Sheeler. Chase produced more than 2,000 paintings making him one of the most prolific American artists. His work included still lifes, portraits, interiors, and landscapes, but is probably best known for his portraits. We know only a few portraits of children. One is of child star Elsie Leslie Lyde who played Little Lord Fauntleroy on the stage (1889).
We note a painting by Isabel Coll. We know nothing about her at the time. Hopefully HBC reader will be able to provide us some information on her. We do know that Coll painted portraits in the 1920s. We note a sensitive portrait of a boy in a short-sleeved yellow shirt and tie done in 1924. Portraits like this are useful in adding color to the black and white images we have collected from the period.
Most art historians consider Copley to be the most accomplished painter in colonial America. Some have called him America's first great painter. He did both portarits and historical scenes. Copley was born in Boston, but his parents had recently arrived from Ireland. His stepfather was an engraver. He left many wonderful portraits of colonial America. His success in New England, however, did not satisfy him. One the basis of the success of his portrait "Boy with a Squirrel", Copley moved to England, but achieved only moderate success there.
Eyre Crowe was an English artist. We mention him here because he painted importnt American scenes, including images od ante-bellum slavery. We do not know much about him. He primarily painted historical art and genre scenes. He chose his subjects for their social importance. He style was realism. Eyre was born in London, but was raised in France. His father was journalist Eyre Evans Crowe which probably explain his realist and journalist approach to art. His brother was journalist, diplomat and art historian Joseph Archer Crowe. His brother's son also Eyre Crowe became an important British diplomat. Eyre was`a pupil of William Darley and later of Paul Delaroche in Paris. He traveled to the United States as amanuensis (literary or artistic asistant) to famed novelist William Makepeace Thackeray between (1852-53). He published With Thackeray in America (1893) and Thackeray's Haunts and Homes (1897). He exhibited at the Royal Academy in London between 1846 and 1908. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (1876).
Frank Duveneck (1848-1919) was an American artist best known for his portraits. Frank was born in Covington, Kentucky (1848). His father was German immigrant Bernhard Decker. Frank lost his father in a cholera epidemic when he was only a year old. His mother remarried Joseph Duveneck. Frank showed an artistic bent from an early age. He began studying art during the Civil War under Johann Schmitt (1863). He then apprenticed to a German firm of church decorators. He would later paint an image of an a;pretice. Covington was just across the Ohio River from the nuch larger city of Cincinnati, Ohio which had a substantial German community. Duveneck as a German and Catholic was nrever fully accepted in the Cincannati artictic community. He decided to study abroad (1869). And he chose Munivch, Germany, at the time a rival to Paris as an artistic center.
He studied under Wilhelm von Diez and Wilhelm Leibl at the Royal Academy of Munich. He developed a dark, realistic style that was very different than contemporary standars heavily influenced by the Hudson River School. Other toung American artists like William Merritt Chase, John Henry Twachtman, Willis Seaver Adams and Walter Shirlaw were also experimenting with new styles.
Ralf Early is an important American portratist, providing wonderful images of important Americans and American families in the period following the Revolution. He also did landscapes but his portraits are his most notable works. His work is much more nuanced than the naive art more common in America at the time. His striaghtforward portrits are seen as "very American". Earle was born in Massachusetts. Earle was a young man when the Revolution broke out. He was a Loyalist, siding with the British. As a result, with his life in danger he fled to Britain and while there dramatically improved his artistic skills. After the Revolution he returned to America and was promptly jailed for debts. He managed to gain his freedom by painting portraits of important officials. His work combined with that of his son (Ralph E.W. Earl) provide some of the most important images of important families in the earliest period of the American nation.
John Ebersberger is a contemprary American painter who describes himself as an impressionist painter. He graduated from the Maryland Institute of Art in l977. His work has been featured in several art journals. His fascination with impressionism to his interest in teaching. He has Artist-in-Residence status at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts where he teaches drawing and painting. Ebersberger's oil paintings have an impresionist flair, but retain a great deal of realistic detail. He does both portraits and landscapes. His work is notable for their intensity of color, especially his landscape work. The use of color is also clearly destinguisgable in his portraits. We are not familiar with a graet deal of his work, but notice a wonderfully crafted portrait of a boy.
Oliver Tarbell Eddy was born in Greenbush, Vermont (1799). Oliver was the oldest son of Isaac Eddy. Eddy like many early Americans was involved in a range of activities, including printung, engraving as well as inventing. Oliver at age 15 years apprenticed under his fathers tutalage, engraving on copper. At the time to print an image, an engraving had toi be made. Oliver was also interested in painting. And as an early American oortratist he is today best known. Like his father he had many interests and also dabbeled in inventions, including as kind of precursor to the typewritwer. He pattentedcthis and other inventions. He has left us several wonderful individual and famiky portraits from the era just before and immeduatly after the invention of photography.
Lydia Field Emmet (1866-1952) was an American female artist best known for her work as a portraitist. The family was Irish immigrants, but reaching America before the wave following the Potato Famine. One of her ancestors was hanged by the British for treason. Two surviving sisters also became artists. She studied in Europe. She began as an illustrator, at age 16 years she was commissioned to illustrate Henrietta Christian Wright's children's book Little Folk in Green. As her reputation grew, she aloong with other prominet women artists worked on murals in the omen's Building of the Columbian World Fair (1893). She was after Mary Caasett one the earliest woman artist of any prominance. She was primarily a portratist, but unlike Cassett did not focus on mothers and children. Rather she was a geeral portraist. She painted some children, but they were not her exclusive subject. She studied with several prominent artists, including William Merritt Chase, Harry Siddons Mowbray, Kenyon Cox and Tony Robert-Fleury--showing the still primarily male domination of art. She exhibited widely and was well received. Her works are today found in many important American art galleries. There is even one in the White House.
We know little about May Fairchild except that she was American and her dates, 1872-1959. The only thing else we know about her is that she produced some charming portraits of children. The image here of a toddler looks to have been painted in the 1920s or early 30s. All we know about the boy was that his name was Albert Cary. He wears a blue one-piece outfit with large buttons and a ruffled collar and sleeve trim. Note his marvelous stuffed dog.
We note a very impressive woman artists, Frances Wiley Faig from Cincinnati, Ohio . Mrs. Faig studied with Frank Duveneck and with Charles Hawthorne. She was a member of the McDowell Society, the Cincinnati Women's Art Club and the Southern States Art League
We note a very impressive portrait she did of a boy in an Eton collar and floppy bow. The boy is unidentified, but we believe he is from Cincinatti and probably painted about 1915, although thisd is only a guess.
Erastus Salisbury Field and his twin suster was born in Leverett, Massachusetts (1805). He was an American naive artist. He is best known for his portraits, many painred late-1820s-40s). As photography began to affect his clientelle, he turned more to landscapes, and historical subjects. As an older teenager, Field demonstrated talent in sketching images. He began studying at the studio of Samuel F. B. Morse in New York. Morse then closed his studio some 3 months later. Field returned to Leverett with minimal training. His earliest known painting is a portrait of his grandmother, Elizabeth Billings Ashley (about 1826). Field aschieved some success as a limner or itinerant portrait painter. He was sble to marry Phebe Gilmur in Ware, Massachusetts (1831). They had one daughter, born in 1832. He traveled in western Massachusetts and the Connecticut Valley. His reputationn was achieving 'good likeness' in only a single sitting. The family moved to Greenwich Village in New York (1840s). Field exhibited a few paintings and apparently took up photography--at the time Daguerreotypes. He adopted the technique of developed by David Acheson Woodward. He used Woodward's solar camera to make enlargements from collodion negatives of portraits onto photo-sensitized canvas (1857). He then painted the result in oils.
After about 7 years, they moved back to Massachusetts to manage his father's farm in Sunderland,. As photograohy attracted more clients, he turned to landscapes and history paintings (late-1840s). His wide died (1859). He and his daugter moved again, but still in the same community. He built a studio and painted biblical scenes and Romantic landscapes. With the advent of the Civil War (1861-65) he mostly did historical and patriotic works. He was prolifuc artist. Over 300 worls have been attributed to him. He died at Plumtrees near , Sunderland, (1900).
We do not know very much about Aaron Dean Fletcher other than he was an American. He work has the look of a primitive or naive artist. Yet thet depicted clothing in great detail and is thus of some interest to us. The only painting we have is an unsigned work, but is attributed to Fletcher. We would date the portrait to about the 1850s. Interestingly theboy holds a copy of The Boys Week Day Book which might help date the portrait.
Jefferson Gauntt was an important American naive artist. We have been aunable to find much biographical information. He was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey (1806). Gauntt studied and exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Gauntt spent several years traveling along the East Coast painting portraits, eventually settling in Brooklyn. Apparently did not sign most of his portraits, there are as a result, very few signed works. There are as a result attribution to him. And many do not seem to be dated. Gauntt's work reflects a trend away from the early American linear folk style to the more realistic, idealizing style of refined European portraits. The childreb portaits we have found seem to date to the 1830s. Of course, Gauntt and other naive artists were affected by the appearance of pohotograophy (1840s). Two important works are an unknown brother and sister and the Spies childrem, bith of hich look to have been painted in the 1830s, although that is only our preliminary assessment.
We have no information on the artist James Green, except that he wa American an active in the mid-19th century. The portrait was a miniature on ivory. The portrait depicts two young children. The older child with protective arm around her younger who's holding a toy ball. They are the children of C. Ross Esquire and they were painted in 1839. One source believes the children are girls. This may well be the case, but the older child looks rather like a boy to me and the ball the younger child holds suggests a boy.
Winslow Homer was one if not the greatest of America's artists. And what times he lived in to portray. When he was born America had a small population and was little regarded around the world. Homer saw the opening of the West, the Civil War, the Indian Wars, the industrial revolution, and the emergence of America as a great world power. Throughout all this tumualt Homer has left us simple, but powerful images of rural life in a still kargely agrarian country during the mid-19th century. There is no better depiction of rural American childhood during this period than Winslow Homer. The most famous is probably "Cracking the whip", but our favorite is "Huntsman and dogs".
Eastman Johnson was born in Lovell, Maine (1824). He was the eighth and last child of an imprtant Maine family. His father was a successful businessman and helfd impotant positions in both in Maine and the Federal Government. His elder brother Philip became a Commodore in the United States Navy. Eastman grew up in Fryeburg and Augusta. Rather than continuing his education, his father apprenticed Eastman to a Boston lithographer (1840). This was the beginning of his art education, he learned about engraving and lithography. His father's political career developed along with his businesses. President Polk appointed him to a posistion in the Navy Department (Ministry). The family moved to Washington, D.C. Eastman moved to Washington, D.C. to join his family at about age 20 (1844). He supporte himself through his developing artistic abilities. These inclue portraits of John Quincy Adams and Dolly Madison. Here is father's political connections helped. He returned to New England and settling in Boston to begin his art career (1846). Eastman lived for a time in Boston, studied in Europe, and spent some time in the West (Wisconson), he used the family's Washington home as a base until moving to New York City (1858). Eastman is among the most underappreciated of the important Americn artists. He left a remarkable record of genre impags and porttaits of mid-19th century America. He was more appreciated in hum time than today. Many if his paintings were influenced by the 17th-century Dutch masters. He focused on them while in Europe, spebding considerable time in the Hague (1850s). Some Americans at the time clled him as The American Rembrandt.
He was co-founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. His most important worj was his genre paintings depicting everyday life, valuable in an era of mostly studio photography. There are many depictions of children in his work. He also did several importnt portraits.
American primitive artist Joshua Johnson was born about 1763. He was also known as Joshua Johnston. He was active as an artist from 1796 through 1824. This means he did not begin to paint portraits until he was over 30. I believe he was a black freeman. One of his best known work showing boys' clothes was of the the Westwood Children which he painted (1807). Johnson was one of the first African Americans to become a professional artist in America. Born into slavery around 1763, as the son of a white man and a black woman who was the slave of another man, Johnson was purchased by his father from his mother's owner when he was about a year old. He later apprenticed to a Baltimore blacksmith, and was freed in 1782. Apparently self-taught, Johnson was listed as a portrait painter or limner from 1796 to 1824 in Baltimore city directories. Some 80 portraits are now attributed to him.
We notice an American artist in the mid-19th century named P.H. Keely. We know nothing about him at this time. He is a naive artist, but quite competent. His rendering of the clothing is quite detailed. We note one portrait of a boy in 1856. The portrait shows the boy seated on a log and holding his cap, mountains and lake in background. The boy is unidentified, but the portrait is signed LR "painted by P.H. Keeley 1856".
We have been unable to find much information Jonathan Knight. We know he was a naive artist, apparently active in Connecticut during the 1790s. The only portait we are aware of at this time is of an unidentified boy. It has been dated to 1797. The boy's age is unclear as is often the case with naive artists, but because he is reading a book with small print, he is presumably at least 8 years of age or older. The curls suggest he is not much older. While the boy's age is uncertain, Knight depicts the boy's clothing in glorious detail. He wears an open collar blouse and trimmed in lace along with lace wrist cuffs. He also has an open deep blue jacket and vest in a luxurious material aling with striped pants. There seems to be a cat under his chair.
John Lewis Krimmel has left us wonderful genre paintings of famimly and public life in the early American republic. In fact he was the earliesr American genre painter. He was born Johann Ludwig Krimmel in Ebingen, Württemberg (1786). Johann decided to follow his older brother, who had immigrated to Philadelphia. His plan was to puesue business with his brother. After arriving in Phildelphi (about 1809), he changed his mind and turned to art. He did not study at prestigious German art schools. He may have had some water color lessons in London. He was a brillint intuitive artist with a keen eye for detail. He stidied briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and with other artists, but was bascally self-taught. He honed his skills by sketching local people of all ages, classes, and races in aide variety of scenes. He worked mostly in Philadelpgia and did not trvel widely. His outings to the nearby Lehigh Valley inspired landscape and botany studies. He achieved some success as n artist in the city. In addotion to his family scenes, he painted both election daus and 4th of July celebrations, a political endorsement of American democracy in contrast to European monarchy. Even his focus on the mundane middle class scenes, show his approval of his adopted country' democratic principles. Thus he was able to afford a trip to Bermuda and back to Germany (1817). His works are mostly limited to the 1810s as as he tragically drowned near Germantown, Pennsylvania (1821).
George Cochran Lambdin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1830), but grew up and lived most of his life in Philadelphia. His father, James Reid Lambdin, was a well-established portrait painter and taught his son paint. He traveled to Europe and studied in Munich and Paris (1855-57). George began his career following his fathers example as a portrait painter in his early-20s. He shortly soon began to paint genre paintings, often sentimentl scenes of women and children. He worked with the United States Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. He brought medicines and bandages to Federal troops in the field. Based on that work, he painted genre scenes of military camp life as well as domestic scenes that with soldiers present. One of his best genre portraits on children was, 'The Biddle Children On The Schuylkill', painted in 1869. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy and the National Academy of Design. In mid-life his health began to fail and many of his last painyings were still art works of flowers, especially roses, for which he became well known. Philadelphia was known as the City of Flowers. He was one of the most popular American artists of the second half of the 19th century. Quite a number of his paintings were copied as chromolithographs so they could be mass-produced for sale to the public. This led to great popularity.
Thomas Le Clear was born in Owego, New York (1818). And has an important assocition with northern New York as well as spending time in Canada. We have not been able to find much information on him. He took an interest in painting at an early age. He began selling copies of art works when he was 12 yaears old, before he had any artistic training. He taught himself by studying the works of other other artists. He finally did some formal study under Henry Inman. He spent considerable time in Buffalo. His work 'Young America' was painted there or from memory after leaving the city. It is usually dated 1863, probably when it was shown. We suspect given the way that the boys are dressed was painted a little earlier. It was definitekty a Buffalo scene. Le Clear worked in Buffalo (1844-60) where he was a founding member of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. He returned to New York City (early-60s). He was elected a National Academician (1863). African Americans appear in some of his genre paintings, but without an obvious social statement--which was unusual at the time (1850s-60s). We see one academician addressing this with a lot all too-typical racist mumbo-jumbo typical of nonsencical social justice warrior thinking. [Sheehan] We see 'Young America' as a statement of the vitality of American democracy which President Lincoln explained in the Gettyssburg Address was still to be proved. The African American man may be a subtle statement that American democracy, while more advanbced than in any other country, was still an unfinished work. In New York he did some important portraits, most notably president Milard Filmore and Ulysses Grant.
Emanuel Leutze was a German-American artist specializing in historical scenes. While he grew up in America, he is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting. Emanuel was born in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Württemberg just after the Napoleonic Wars (1816). His family was of libral persuasions and brought Emanuel to the United States as a very young boy anf he grew up in America. They first went to Fredericksburg, Virginia, but then settled in Philadelphia. There he received a sound education, but not focused on art. The first inkling of his artistic abilities was while he spent time with his dieing father. He passed the time with drawing. His father died (1831). A teenage Emanuel began selling portaits at $5 apiece--a princly sum for a 14 year old boy. Soon after he began his first artistic studies in classes held by John Rubens Smith (1834). Smith was a portrait painter in Philadelphia. Leutze honed his skills under Smith's tutelidge. And from an early point his interests turned to history. He conceived of a plan for publishing portraits of eminent American statesmen. This was an expensive project and the young artist with out a reputation was not encouraged. [Wilson and Fiske] One of Leutze's paintings attracted critical attention and secured him several commissions. This enabled him to go to Europe to study. He went to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he studied under Lessing (1840). He studied the great masters in European museums. He was particularly impressed with the works of Cornelius and Kaulbach in Munich. While in Germany he completed his first greart work--'Columbus before the Queen'. Returning to America, he painted some of the great American historical works. The most notable was the iconic 'Washington Crossing the Deleware'. He painted the optimistic, 'Westward the course of Empire makes it way' during the Civil War while the issue was still indoubt. 'Westward Ho!' is the classic statement of Manifest Destiny and can be found in the U.S. Capitol. It is rather surprising he did not leave a major Civil war image, but at his untimly death of heatsroke, he was working on 'The emancipation of the slaves'. He painted 'Ambrose Burnside at Antitem'. Antitem of course merited a painted--but Burnside was hardly the key fifure. Other important works include, Mrs. Schuyler burning her wheat fields on the approach of the British', 'Washington rallying the troops at Monmouth', 'William H. Seward and Eduard de Stoeckl negotiating the Alaska purchase', 'Storming of the Teocalli by Cortez and his troops', and 'The Great Matter'.
William Lewis Lester was a painter and and art teacher. He was leader in the development of a Texas Regionalist style. During the Depression he was a staff artist with the Civilian Conservation Corps. He taught art at the University of Texas at Austin for 30 years. Grafually he acquired an abstract appraoch. His subject matter included landscapes, buildings, and people. He exhibited widely and many museums both in Texas and outside the state have his works in their collection. We have noted a 1964 portrait of "A boy with a guitar". The boy seeems to show Texas' Hispanic heritage.
George Luks is associated with the Ashcan School. Portraits of urban city types were a favorite subject for painters of the Ashcan School. Luks painted many studies of street characters, often holding or playing with animals. Luks often dealt with his subjects with seeminly brusque techniques. He tirelessly walked the streets of the city in searching of motivationa and subjects. He saw beauty and nobility in what others saw a squalor and ugliness. He had a particular fondness for scenes featuring street urchins, whom he depicted with enormous charm and spontaneity.
Howard, Hugh. The Painter's Chair: George Washington and the Making of American Art.
Johnson, Dale T. "Deacon Robert Peckham: 'Delineator of the Human Face Divine,'" American Art Journal January 1979), pp. 27-36.
Sheehan, Tanyas. "Playing the race card: Le Clear's 'High, Jack, Game'," Panorama (Fall 2018). We believe this article id racist mumbo-jumb, but as a fierce critic of Cancel Culture, we believe in assessimg a wide range of views in our website. A HBC reader writes, "I am amazed about the 21st century racial judgement of a 19th century painting. I can come up with a totally different story than the Colby professor. I remember reading in the 1960s-1970s crazy Victorian interpretations of ancient Roman and other artifacts that later turned out to be totally fabricated and based upon 19th century mores and not the era the items came from. I agree with the HBC assessment."
Wilson, James Grant and John Fiske, eds. "Leutze, Emanuel" Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography (New York: D. Appleton, 1892).
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