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Term used to describe a movement of the 1870s and 1880s that manifested itself in the fine and decorative arts and architecture in Britain and subsequently in the USA. Reacting to what was seen as evidence of philistinism in art and design, it was characterized by the cult of the beautiful and an emphasis on the sheer pleasure to be derived from it. In painting there was a belief in the autonomy of art, the concept of Art for Art’s Sake, which originated in France as a literary movement and was introduced into Britain around 1860.

The Aesthetic Movement was championed by the writers and critics Walter Pater, Algernon Charles Swinburne and Oscar Wilde. In keeping with Pater’s theories, the artists associated with it painted pictures without narrative or significant subject-matter. Dante Gabriel Rossetti took his inspiration from Venetian art because of its emphasis on colour and the decorative. This resulted in a number of half-length paintings of female figures, such as the ...


Amy Meyers

(Laforest) [Fougère, Jean-Jacques]

(b Les Cayes, Santo Domingo [now Haiti], April 26, 1785; d New York state, Jan 27, 1851).

American Naturalist, painter and draughtsman of French –Creole descent. Brought up in a French village near Nantes, he developed an interest in art and natural science, encouraged by his father and the naturalist Alcide Dessaline d’Orbigny. He is thought to have moved to Paris by 1802 to pursue formal art training; although the evidence is inconclusive, Audubon claimed to have studied in the studio of Jacques-Louis David.

In 1803 Audubon travelled to the USA to oversee Mill Grove, an estate owned by his father on the outskirts of Philadelphia, PA. Uninterested in practical affairs, he spent his time hunting and drawing birds. His drawings (many in Cambridge, MA, Harvard U., Houghton Lib.) from this period are executed primarily in pencil and pastel. They are conventional specimen drawings that define individual birds in stiff profile with little or no background. A number of these works, however, bear notations from Mark Catesby’s ...


Mario Béland

(bapt Wallerstein, Saxony, Dec 10, 1744; d New York, Feb 5, 1813).

Canadian painter and architect of German birth. He studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna in 1762 and subsequently at the University of Jena in Saxony. During the 1770s he lived in several European countries before settling in Florence as a miniature painter at the end of the decade. About 1790 he moved to London where he pursued his career as a painter, exhibiting at the Royal Academy. In 1792 he departed for America with a group of settlers and two years later set up a business in the area of York (now Toronto). In 1798–9 he worked as a portrait painter in Quebec, producing a wide range of pictures from miniatures on ivory to life-size canvases (e.g. Governor Prescott; Quebec, Mus. Semin.). From 1803 he made his living solely from painting, mainly in Montreal and Quebec. Berczy was recognized as one of the best painters in both Upper and Lower Canada. At the same time as he was becoming a popular portrait painter, he devoted time to religious painting and to architectural work, including plans made in ...


Jeffrey R. Hayes


(b Prenzlau, Germany, June 21, 1867; d South Braintree, MA, Jan 12, 1938).

American painter and architect of German birth. Bluemner emigrated to the USA in 1892, after receiving his diploma and an award for a painting of an architectural subject from the Königliche Technische Hochschule, Berlin. He first worked as a draughtsman at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, and later designed New York’s Bronx Borough Courthouse (1902). Around 1910 his professional focus moved to painting under the aegis of Alfred Stieglitz, who gave him a one-man exhibition at the Gallery 291 gallery in 1915, published his writings in Camera Work and recommended his inclusion in the Forum Exhibition of Modern American Painters (1916).

Bluemner’s prismatically structured early landscapes (e.g., Expression of a Silktown, 1915; Trenton, NJ State Mus.) reflected his lasting interest in colour theory and familiarity with the work of Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh and with Neo-Impressionism. During the 1920s he concentrated on watercolours (e.g., ...


American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 6 February 1864, in New York; died 3 December 1944, in New York.

Painter. Landscapes, architectural views.

George Hirst Bogert first studied at the National Academy of New York, then completed his training in Paris, where he was taught by Puvis de Chavannes, Morot and Boudin. He was a member of the National Academy of New York and became a member of the Salmagundi Club in ...


Raymond Vézina

(b Acadie, Qué., Oct 21, 1827; d Lachenaie, Qué., Aug 27, 1916).

Canadian architect, painter, sculptor, writer and teacher. He studied law in Montreal (1848–50), also attending classes under the Quebec painter Théophile Hamel until 1851. In 1852 Bourassa went to Italy, staying there for three years. Inspired by Victor Cousin’s treatise Du vrai, du beau, du bien (Paris, 1826, rev. 2/1853), which popularized a philosophy of eclecticism, he sought to influence artistic trends in Canada not only through promoting art as a means of developing moral and intellectual values but through encouraging state patronage of the arts.

Among Bourassa’s early paintings are portraits of his parents (1851; Quebec, Mus. Qué.) and of such leading churchmen as J.O. Archambault (St-Hyacinthe, Semin.). His first architectural work was the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Montreal (begun 1872), for which he and a group of pupils also produced paintings and sculptures (in situ). Like several of Bourassa’s projects, this was influenced by the work of Hippolyte Flandrin. In ...


Linda Jansma

(b Greenock, Strathclyde, Dec 14, 1855; d Wallasey, Ches, June 18, 1925).

Canadian painter and teacher of Scottish birth. He moved with his family to the Eastern Townships, Quebec, in 1857. Brymner’s first training was under the architect Richard Cunningham Windeyer (1830–1900) in Montreal and later under Thomas Seaton Scott (1836–95), the Chief Architect for the Department of Public Works in Ottawa. He was one of the first Canadians to travel to Paris for artistic training, arriving there in 1878. He studied at the Académie Julian from 1878 to 1880, under William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury, and again from 1883 to 1885 and in 1889. The subtle tonal relationships and simple composition of a Wreath of Flowers (1884; Ottawa, N.G.), his diploma piece for the Royal Canadian Academy, could be found in works throughout his career. He accepted the position of Master of the School of the Art Association of Montreal in 1886, teaching there until 1921...


Paul J. Karlstrom

(b Copenhagen, Denmark, Oct 19, 1853; d New York, NY, Jan 2, 1932).

American painter of Danish birth. Carlsen immigrated to the USA in 1872 after studying architecture at the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi in his native Copenhagen. In 1874 he worked under Danish painter Lauritz Holtz in Chicago. After six months study in Paris (1875), he returned to Chicago to teach at the newly founded Academy of Design. Back in Paris (1884–6) for further study of the works of Jean-Siméon Chardin, he produced floral still-lifes for New York dealer Theron J. Blakeslee. America’s leading exponent of the Chardin Revival, Carlsen eventually became his adopted country’s most famous depicter in paint of fish, game, bottles and related ‘kitchen’ still-life subjects (e.g. Blackfish and Clams; New York, Met.). A typical fish portrait recently hung in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, near a similar piscean image by one of Carlsen’s main competitors in the genre, William Merritt Chase, whose famous fish still-life, ...


American, 19th century, male.

Born 1800, in Boston (Massachusetts); died 1842.

Painter, designer of ornamental architectural features, engraver, decorative designer. Portraits, landscapes, military subjects, seascapes, harbour views, scenes with figures. Decorative panels.

Charles Codman trained with John Ritto Pennimans as a painter and designer of ornamental architectural features, and settled in Portland in ...


American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active from 1866 active in Italy.

Born 1840, in Buffalo (New York State); died 1928.

Painter, pastellist. Local scenes, landscapes, landscapes with figures, architectural views.

Charles Caryl Coleman began his training in Buffalo and in 1859 went to Paris. There, he studied under Thomas Couture as part of a group of American artists. He then went to the Accademia Galli in Florence, where he became friends with the painter Elihu Vedder. He returned to America in ...


American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1832, in Portland (Maine); died 1920, in New York.

Painter, watercolourist. Landscapes, seascapes, architectural views.

Samuel Colman was born in Maine but brought up in New York where his father was a publisher. He studied with Asher B. Durand and is considered a follower of the Hudson River School. He went to Europe in ...



Keith N. Morgan

American town and former artists’ colony in the state of New Hampshire. Situated on a line of hills near the eastern bank of the Connecticut River c. 160 km north-west of Boston, Cornish looks across to Windsor, VT, and Mt Ascutney. It was settled in 1763 as an agrarian community, but its population was rapidly reduced during the migration to the cities in the second half of the 19th century. From 1885 until around the time of World War I, Cornish was the summer home of a group of influential sculptors, painters, architects, gardeners, and writers. For this coherent group, the Cornish hills symbolized an ideal natural environment that reflected the classical images so important in their work. The sculptor who first spent a summer in Cornish in 1885, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, bought his summer residence there in 1891, and he was soon followed by the painters Henry Oliver Walker (...


William S. Talbot

(b Rossville, Staten Island, NY, Feb 18, 1823; d Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, June 22, 1900).

American painter and architect. Cropsey was a practising architect by 1843, but in that year he also exhibited a landscape painting, to favourable reviews, at the National Academy of Design, in New York. He greatly admired Thomas Cole for his dramatic use of the American landscape, but Cropsey brought to his panoramic vistas a more precise recording of nature, as in View of Greenwood Lake, New Jersey (1845; San Francisco, CA, de Young Mem. Mus.). Such vastness and detail impressed the viewer with both the grandeur and the infinite complexity of nature and indicated a universal order. In 1847 Cropsey made his first trip to Europe, settling in Rome among a circle of American and European painters. His eye for detail in recording nature was encouraged by the Nazarenes, and his American sympathy for historical and literary subjects was sharpened by the antiquities of Italy. In 1848 Cropsey was in Naples, where the work of contemporary painters may have inspired the bold massing, deep space and brilliant lighting in ...


American, 19th century, male.

Born 18 February 1823, in Rossville (Staten Island, New York); died 22 June 1900, in Hastings-on-Hudson (New York).

Painter (gouache), watercolourist, draughtsman, architect. Landscapes.

Hudson River School.

Jasper Francis Cropsey began his career as an architect, but gave up the profession to paint landscapes. He lived in Rome ...


Charlotte Moser

(b Utica, NY, Sept 26, 1862; d Florence, Oct 24, 1928).

American painter and illustrator. He first trained as an architectural draughtsman at the Academy of Design, Chicago (1878). After studying briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago, he went to New York, where he attended the Gotham School and the Art Students League (1886–8). By 1887 he was working as an illustrator for Century magazine. A realist landscape painter in the 19th-century academic tradition, he was influenced by the painters of the Hudson River school and particularly by the luminist, dream-like landscapes of George Inness.

Around 1900 Davies’s paintings became Symbolist in style, with the introduction of mystical nude figures in the landscape, as in Meeting in the Forest (1900; Montclair, NJ, A. Mus.) and Autumn—Enchanted Salutation (1907; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.). Themes combining Classical figures and landscape, which evolved in a mythical classicist style reminiscent of the work of Puvis de Chavannes, typified Davies’s work throughout his career. Increasingly drawn to ancient art and Greco-Roman civilization, he eventually identified the archaic with modernism, for example in ...


American, 19th century, male.

Born 1862, in Philadelphia.

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist. Landscapes.

John J. Dull, who was also an architect, exhibited regularly at the Philadelphia and Chicago exhibitions.

New York, 22 Jan 1985: Winter Landscape (oil on canvas, 30 × 36¼ ins/76.2 × 92 cm) ...


American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1840, in Chicago; died 27 January 1912, in Munich.

Painter, draughtsman. Genre scenes, landscapes, architectural views, ruins, church interiors, interiors.

Charles Dyer began his career in the Navy and the diplomatic corps (he was consul in Bristol and then Beirut). He left the diplomatic corps to devote himself to painting under the guidance of L. Jacquesson de la Chavreuse in Paris. In ...


American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 30 October 1872, in Omaha (Nebraska).

Painter, engraver, decorative designer.

Edmond Ellis was also an architect. He decorated the interiors of public buildings, notably the Protestant episcopal church of Fordham, and private houses. He produced etchings.


American, 19th century, male.

Born 17 October 1852, in Rochester; died 2 January 1904, in Syracuse (New York).

Painter, sculptor, architect, designer. Landscapes.

New York Water Color Club.

Harvey Ellis attended West Point Military Academy from 1871 to 1872, but was dismissed for misconduct. He then travelled to Europe to view fine architecture, and ...


Eileen Michels

(b Rochester, NY, Oct 17, 1852; d Syracuse, NY, Jan 2, 1904).

American architect, mural designer, and painter. Between 1879 and 1885 Harvey Ellis and his brother Charles maintained an architectural partnership in Rochester that produced commercial buildings and residences. Harvey also painted traditional representational oils and watercolours and exhibited them with the Rochester Art Club, which he helped establish in 1877. In 1885 he won first prize and national notice with a perspective rendering for a monument memorializing General Ulysses Grant (1822-85), published in American Architect and Building News (26, 1885, p. 175). He worked as an architectural designer for a succession of Midwestern firms: J. Walter Stevens in St Paul, MN (1886); Leroy Sunderland Buffington in Minneapolis, MN (1887-9); Eckel & Mann in St Joseph, MO (1889–91); and George Mann in St Louis, MO (1891–3). During those years many of his pen-and-ink perspective renderings appeared in American Architect and Building News and Inland Architect...