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Article

Abbey, Edwin Austin  

Pamela H. Simpson

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 1852; d London, Aug 1, 1911).

American painter, illustrator, and muralist, active also in England. Abbey began his art studies at the age of 14 in his native Philadelphia where he worked with Isaac L. Williams (1817–95). Two years later he enrolled in night classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art working under Christian Schussele (1824–1979), but by then Abbey was already a published illustrator. In the 1870s his drawings appeared in numerous publications, but it was his work for Harper & Brothers that proved most important to his career. In 1871 he moved to New York, and in 1878, Harper’s sent him on a research trip to England. He found such affinity with the country that he made it his home for the rest of his life. After 1889 he devoted more time to painting, was elected a Royal Academician in 1898, and in 1902 was chosen by Edward VII (...

Article

Alexander, John White  

Eleanor Jones Harvey

(b Allegheny, PA, Oct 7, 1856; d New York, May 31, 1915).

American painter and illustrator. He began his career in New York in 1875 as a political cartoonist and illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. In 1877 he went to Paris for his first formal art training, and then to Munich, where he enrolled at the Kunstakademie under Gyuala Benczúr. In 1878 he joined a colony of American painters established by Frank Duveneck in Polling, Bavaria. In 1879 they travelled to Italy, where Alexander formed friendships with James McNeill Whistler and Henry James. In 1881 he returned to New York, working as an illustrator for Harper’s, as a drawing instructor at Princeton and as a highly successful society portrait painter (see fig.). He also exhibited at the National Academy of Design. By 1893 his reputation in both Europe and America had soared, and in 1895 he was awarded a prestigious commission for a series of murals entitled the Evolution of the Book...

Article

Beal, Gifford  

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 24 January 1879, in New York; died 5 February 1956, in New York.

Painter, watercolourist, graphic artist. Landscapes, cityscapes, genre scenes.

Gifford Beal, brother of Reynolds Beal, studied with William Merritt Chase at Shinnecock Summer School, Long Island (...

Article

Bechtle, Robert  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1932, in San Francisco.

Painter.

With sharp and almost photographic realism, Robert Bechtle paints glowing shiny cars, depicting every detail with extreme precision. He has also painted scenes from everyday life, which are often autobiographical. After studying at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, he taught at the San Francisco State University for 30 years....

Article

Blum, Robert Frederick  

Carolyn Kinder Carr

(b Cincinnati, OH, July 9, 1857; d New York, June 8, 1903).

American painter and illustrator. The son of German–American parents, he probably became interested in magazine illustration while an apprentice at Gibson & Co., lithographers in Cincinnati, during 1873 and 1874. He began drawing lessons at the McMicken School of Design (now the Art Academy of Cincinnati) c. 1873, transferring to the Ohio Mechanics Institute in 1874. Blum visited the Centennial Exposition (1876) in Philadelphia and was impressed with paintings by Giovanni Boldini and Mariano Fortuny y Marsal and by Japanese art. He remained there for about nine months, studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

In 1878 Blum moved to New York, where he contributed illustrations to such magazines as St Nicholas and Scribner’s Magazine. Two years later he took the first of numerous trips to Europe. In Venice he met James McNeill Whistler and Frank Duveneck and under their influence took up etching. He travelled frequently with ...

Article

Blumenschein, Ernest  

Sascha Scott

(b Pittsburgh, PA, May 25, 1874; d Albuquerque, NM, June 6, 1960).

American painter and illustrator. Raised in Dayton, OH, Blumenschein showed an early aptitude for music, art, and sports. Upon graduating from high school, he began training as a musician on a violin scholarship at the Music Academy of Cincinnati. Blumenschein left the Academy after a year and enrolled in the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he received a prize for illustration in Fernand Harvey Lungren’s class. In 1893, he moved to New York City and enrolled at the Art Students League, where his instructors included John Twachtman and Kenyon Cox. Over the course of the next 15 years, he moved back and forth between New York and Paris, periodically visiting other locales, including Taos, NM, Italy, and Giverny. He twice enrolled at the Académie Julian (1894–6 and 1899), where he studied with Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant. In 1905, he married artist Mary Shepard Greene (1869–1958), and, with the birth of their daughter in ...

Article

Bodmer, Karl  

Leslie Heiner

[Carl]

(b Riesbach, Switzerland, Feb 1809; d Barbizon, Seine-et-Marne, Oct 30, 1893).

Swiss painter and graphic artist, active in the USA and France. Bodmer’s earliest exposure to art probably came from his uncle, the landscape painter and engraver Johann Jakob Meyer (1787–1858). When he was 22, Bodmer moved to Paris, where he studied art under Sébastien Cornu. In Paris he met his future patron, Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, who was planning an ambitious scientific expedition to North America. Bodmer was engaged to accompany the expedition and to provide sketches of the American wilderness. After touring the East Coast, the party made their way westward via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to St Louis, MO, and in 1833 travelled up the Missouri River into country scarcely inhabited by white men. On the journey north to Ft MacKenzie, WY, Bodmer recorded the landscape and the groups of Indians they encountered. Having wintered in Ft Clark, ND, they returned to New York and then Europe in ...

Article

Bradley, William H.  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 10 July 1868, in Boston; died 1962, in New Jersey.

Draughtsman, illustrator, poster artist. Toys.

Art Nouveau.

Will Bradley was the son of a caricaturist who worked on the Daily Item, a newspaper published in Lynn, Massachusetts. At the age of 12, he became apprentice to a printer and then began drawing and illustrating, making this his full-time occupation ...

Article

Brown, George Loring  

Thomas W. Leavitt

(b Boston, MA, Feb 2, 1814; d Malden, MA, June 25, 1889).

American painter and illustrator. Brown was apprenticed at about 14 to the Boston wood-engraver Alonzo Hartwell and had produced scores of illustrations by 1832, when he turned to painting and sailed to Europe for further training. After brief stays in Antwerp and London, he settled in Paris, where he was admitted to the atelier of Isabey, (Louis-)Eugène(-Gabriel). Returning to America in 1834, Brown produced illustrations, portraits and landscapes. He travelled throughout the north-eastern USA, sketching in watercolour and in oil. His work was admired by Washington Allston, who assisted him in a second visit to Europe.

Brown and his wife settled in Florence from 1841 to 1846. At first he painted copies from Old Masters for American and British tourists, but gradually, as his technique and composition improved, he began to create original Italian landscapes with strong chiaroscuro and impasto. He became closely involved with American expatriates and many artists and writers. He moved to Rome in ...

Article

Cahoon, Charles Drew  

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1861, in Harwich (Massachusetts); died 1951, in Harwich.

Painter, photographer. Landscapes, seascapes.

Charles Drew Cahoon initially studied photography and worked in a photographic laboratory until about 1900, when he turned to painting. He was a prolific painter, thought to have produced between 2,500 and 3,000 paintings. These are largely land- and seascapes of Cape Cod, where he lived. He was the cousin of the noted painter and furniture decorator Ralph Cahoon....

Article

Chapman, John Gadsby  

H. Nichols B. Clark

(b Alexandria, VA, Aug 11, 1808; d Staten Island, NY, Nov 28, 1889).

American painter and illustrator. Early encouragement and instruction from Cooke, George and Charles Bird King diverted Chapman from a career in law. In 1827 he began painting professionally in Winchester, VA, but quickly sought more training in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His desire to learn history painting soon took him to Italy to study the Old Masters. Returning to the USA in 1831, Chapman supported himself by painting portraits and occasional history subjects. Between 1837 and 1840 he executed the most important picture of his career, the Baptism of Pocahontas, the fifth painting to decorate the Rotunda of the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC (in situ). In the mid-1830s Chapman began to illustrate texts, contributing to numerous magazines and gift-books. His most famous project was Harper’s Illuminated Bible (New York, 1846), which contains over 1400 wood engravings in the style of Homer Dodge Martin and the later religious paintings of Benjamin West. Chapman’s most lasting achievement was his instruction manual, ...

Article

Charles, Michael Ray  

Sandra Sider

(b Lafayette, LA, 1967).

African American painter. Charles graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA, in 1985, having studied advertising design, illustration, and painting. He received his MFA from the University of Houston in 1993, and subsequently taught at the University of Texas at Austin. His paintings, which manipulate images of historical black stereotypes, have generated critical controversy and hostile reactions from viewers. Charles, however, saw himself as investigating these images and their place in American history, exploring and exposing their negativity. He typically signs his work with an actual copper penny, oriented to display the profile of Abraham Lincoln.

Charles also collected black memorabilia, such as Aunt Jemima dolls and other advertising ephemera, and has researched 19th-century blackface and minstrelsy performers. Some of his most controversial figures have been of childhood literary icons, including a black Sambo reminiscent of Mickey Mouse. Charles is interested in how these images remain in America’s collective memory, and the different attitudes of Caucasians and African Americans when viewing them. He creates extreme caricatures, such as a sinister-looking black face with a watermelon slice for a mouth and black seeds instead of teeth—images meant to stimulate thought. The faces in his paintings confront the viewer with their oversized scale, some of them more than 1 m high. Charles felt that American advertising conditioned people of all types to pigeonhole blacks as representing the body (instead of the mind), and as entertainers—and that these stereotypical attitudes have been retained in the American psyche. To emphasize this point, Charles juxtaposed African American celebrities with advertising imagery, such as Oprah Winfrey as a cookie-jar mammy figure....

Article

Cockburn, James Pattison  

Kirk Marlow

(b New York, Mar 18, 1779; d Woolwich, Mar 18, 1847).

English painter, illustrator, writer, and soldier, active in Canada. As a young cadet at Woolwich Royal Military Academy (1793–1795) he took instruction in topographical drawing from Paul Sandby. He traveled and sketched in continental Europe and established a reputation with his illustrations to picturesque travel-books of Italy and the Alpine regions of Switzerland.

Cockburn had a short, artistically unproductive, posting to Lower Canada (1822–1823). In 1826 he returned and was in Quebec City as commander of the Royal Artillery. His principal Canadian work is a guidebook to the city, entitled Quebec and its Environs: Being a Picturesque Guide to the Stranger (1831). It includes six engravings based on his drawings of the area. Published anonymously, the book was written in a somewhat anecdotal yet informative style, directing the newly arrived visitor to the most scenic viewpoints of the city and surrounding areas, including the picturesque Montmorency Falls, just northeast of Quebec City. The guidebook points out the panoramic vistas that would undoubtedly delight all visitors to and residents of Quebec City, which is perched dramatically on a cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River....

Article

Cox, Kenyon  

H. Wayne Morgan

(b Warren, OH, Oct 27, 1856; d New York, March 17, 1919).

American painter, illustrator and writer. He was a member of a prominent Ohio family who fostered in him a strong sense of moral responsibility. From an early age he wished to be a painter and despite severe illnesses studied at the McMicken School in Cincinnati, OH, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (1876–7). From 1877 to 1882 he was in Paris, where he worked first with Carolus-Duran, then with Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He considered Gérôme his master, though he did not adopt his style or subject-matter. In the autumn of 1878 Cox travelled to northern Italy, where he imbibed the spirit of the Italian Renaissance. As a student he gravitated steadily towards the reigning academic ideal of draughtsmanship, especially of the figure, that was to persist throughout his career (e.g. An Eclogue, 1890; Washington, DC, N. Col. F.A.). He did paint outdoors, both landscapes and genre, and attained a sense of spontaneity and charm in many such works, but he always insisted on careful composition and interpreted form. He exhibited at the Salon in Paris between ...

Article

Davies, Arthur B(owen)  

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 ...

Article

Diedricksen, Theodore  

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in the USA.

Painter. Genre scenes.

Diedricksen studied in Paris from 1911 to 1912. He became a professor of art and graphic design at Yale University.

New York, 31 March 1993: Egyptian Fantasy (1912, oil on canvas, 44 × 38 ins/111.8 × 96.5 cm) ...

Article

Dixon, (Lafayette) Maynard  

Paul J. Karlstrom

(b Fresno, CA, Jan 24, 1875; d Tucson, AZ, Nov 13, 1946).

American painter, muralist and illustrator. Born on a ranch near Fresno in California’s Central Valley, he spent his early years immersed in the lore of the Old West. A frail child, he occupied his time drawing Western subjects and at one point sent his sketchbook to his idol, Western painter and sculptor Frederic Remington, who encouraged the boy’s efforts. Dixon’s family moved in 1893 to the San Francisco Bay Area, and he enrolled briefly at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, where he studied with Arthur F. Mathews. Dixon described Mathews’s teaching as follows: ‘His method was to pounce upon our work, so like a growling dog he scared me out of my boots.’ Except for private study with landscapist Raymond Dabb Yelland (1848–1900), Dixon was largely self-taught. After only three months at the MHIA, he went to work as an illustrator for the San Francisco dailies and the ...

Article

Dworkowitz, Alan  

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946, in New York.

Painter.

Benefiting from the success of Hyperrealism, Alan Dworkowitz exhibited paintings representing close-ups of motorbikes, executed with photographic precision, in the USA in 1972 and 1973. This subject evokes the canvases of Parrish, but without their wealth of detail. Dworkowitz is mentioned in Udo Kulterman's book on Hyperrealism....

Article

Eastman, Seth  

American, 19th century, male.

Born 1808, in Brunswick (Maine); died 1875.

Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman. Figures, landscapes, topographical views.

Seth Eastman studied at West Point Military Academy from 1824 to 1828 and it was there that he learned topographical drawing. He served five years in the field and returned to West Point, studying with Robert W. Weir in ...

Article

Ehninger, John W(hetten)  

H. Nichols B. Clark

(b New York, July 22, 1827; d Saratoga Springs, NY, Jan 22, 1889).

American painter and illustrator. After graduating from Columbia College, New York, in 1847, he immediately departed for Europe to pursue artistic training. He visited Italy and France, but staying in Germany, specifically Düsseldorf, was his main objective. There he studied with Karl Friedrich Lessing, Carl Ferdinand Sohn, and fellow American Emanuel Leutze, and in Paris he was instructed by Thomas Couture. During the early 1850s he travelled between America and Europe but finally settled in New York in 1853 until his move to Saratoga Springs after marrying in 1877. Ehninger exhibited regularly at the National Academy of Design, New York, where he was elected a full member in 1860. His work reveals interests shared by the other Americans in Düsseldorf: these were mainly history and genre painting, with occasional forays in European landscape. But he quickly returned to American subject-matter; Yankee Peddler (1853; Newark, NJ, Mus.), for example, describes the initiative of an itinerant entrepreneur in the young nation....