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Article

Helen A. Cooper

(b Boston, MA, Feb 24, 1836; d Prout’s Neck, ME, Sept 29, 1910).

American painter, illustrator and etcher. He was one of the two most admired American late 19th-century artists (the other being Thomas Eakins) and is considered to be the greatest pictorial poet of outdoor life in the USA and its greatest watercolourist (see fig.). Nominally a landscape painter, in a sense carrying on Hudson River school attitudes, Homer was an artist of power and individuality whose images are metaphors for the relationship of Man and Nature. A careful observer of visual reality, he was at the same time alive to the purely physical properties of pigment and colour, of line and form, and of the patterns they create. His work is characterized by bold, fluid brushwork, strong draughtsmanship and composition, and particularly by a lack of sentimentality.

Homer was the second of three sons of Charles Savage Homer, a hardware importer, and Henrietta Benson Homer, a gifted amateur watercolourist. Brought up in Cambridge, MA, where he attended school, he had an active outdoor boyhood that left a lifelong liking for the country. An independent, strong-willed young man, he showed an early preference for art and was encouraged in his interest by both parents. Like a number of self-educated American artists, Homer was first known as an illustrator. At 19 he became an apprentice at the lithographic firm of ...

Article

Jens Christian Jensen

(Friedrich Erdmann von)

(b Breslau, Silesia [now Wrocław, Poland], Dec 8, 1815; d Berlin, Feb 9, 1905).

German painter, draughtsman, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher. He was the most important artist working in Berlin in the second half of the 19th century and in his later years was one of the most successful and respected artists in Germany. Living virtually all his life in Berlin, he executed numerous paintings and illustrations relating to events in Prussia’s recent history and was the foremost chronicler of the life of Frederick the Great (reg 1740–86). Through his portraits and industrial scenes and his more intimate studies of interiors and local religious events he became one of the greatest German proponents of Realism (see Realism, §3).

He was the son of Carl Erdmann Menzel (d 1832), the head of an educational institute in Breslau, who abandoned his profession in 1818 to establish a lithographic printing works. In 1827, at age 12, Adolph Menzel exhibited a drawing and in ...