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David Steinberg

(b Waccamaw, SC, Nov 5, 1779; d Cambridgeport, MA, July 9, 1843).

American painter. The son of a prominent South Carolina plantation owner of English descent, he began to draw around the age of six, and he moved to his uncle’s home in Newport, RI, at the age of eight. While there he came into contact with the portrait painter Samuel King, but it was the exhibited portraits of Robert Edge Pine that offered him inspiring models of glazing and colouring. Dubbed ‘the Count’ by his Harvard College classmates for his way with fashion, Allston explored alternatives to the portrait tradition with landscapes, as well as with depictions of irrational figures, for example Man in Chains (1800; Andover, MA, Phillips Acad., Addison Gal.). After graduating in 1800, he sold his patrimony to fund study abroad.

In 1801 Allston went with Edward Greene Malbone to London, where he frequented the circle of Benjamin West and studied drawing at the Royal Academy. In late ...

Article

Angela L. Miller

(b Bolton-le-Moor, Lancs, Feb 1, 1801; d Catskill, NY, or 11, 12).

American painter and poet of English birth. Cole was the leading figure in American landscape painting during the first half of the 19th century and had a significant influence on the painters of the Hudson River school, among them Jasper Cropsey, Asher B. Durand and Frederic Church (Cole’s only student). In the 1850s these painters revived the moralizing narrative style of landscape in which Cole had worked during the 1830s. From the 1850s the expressive, Romantic landscape manner of Cole was eclipsed by a more direct and objective rendering of nature, yet his position at the beginning of an American landscape tradition remained unchallenged (for an example of his work, see View on the Catskill—Early Autumn, 1836–37; New York, Met.).

He spent his first 17 years in Lancashire. Industrialized since the 18th century, Lancashire provided a stark contrast to the wilderness Cole encountered when he followed his family to Steubenville, OH, via Philadelphia, in ...

Article

Margaret Henderson Floyd

(b Boston, MA, 1802; d Brookline, MA, Nov 26, 1872).

American architect and engineer. After leaving Harvard University in 1821, he travelled in England, France and Germany during the following decade. He was impressed by the evidence of Romanticism that he saw in England and by the work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Germany, where he studied engineering. In Paris he bought architectural books for the Boston Athenaeum and the library of the architect and civil engineer Alexander Parris. In the 1830s Dexter trained as an engineer in Boston. His engineering studies enabled him to undertake major commissions with advanced engineering requirements, but his technical competence was combined with a romantic sensibility. He designed the houses in Pemberton Square (1836; destr.), Boston, which resembled Charles Bulfinch’s Tontine Crescent in plan. He designed two important railway stations in Boston, the Haymarket and the Fitchburg (1844 and 1848 respectively; both destr.), which solved the transport problems of the Boston peninsula. He won the competition of ...

Article

Arthur Channing Downs

(b Newburgh, NY, Oct 31, 1815; d Hudson River, NY, July 28, 1852).

American writer, horticulturist, landscape gardener and architect. From the age of seven he was trained in the family nursery garden by his elder brother Charles Downing (1802–85), an experimental horticulturist. Before he was 15, Downing came under the influence of André Parmentier (1780–1830), a Dutch-trained landscape gardener, and he studied the 700-acre estate that Parmentier had landscaped in the English manner at Hyde Park, NY. Downing was also influenced by the mineralogist Baron Alois von Lederer (1773–1842) and the landscape painter Raphael Hoyle (1804–38). In 1834 Downing’s first article, ‘Ornamental Trees’, appeared in journals in Boston, MA, and France. His article ‘The Fitness of Different Styles of Architecture for Country Residences’ (1836) was the first important discussion of the topic in America. He expressed enthusiasm for a variety of styles and insisted they must be used in appropriate settings. His ...

Article

Marisa J. Pascucci

Terms applied to painters who had studied at either of the two academies in Germany where numerous American artists sought painting instruction. In the mid-19th century some of America’s most esteemed artists studied at the German art academies in Düsseldorf and Munich. By the end of the 19th century hundreds of American artists in search of the latest artistic styles and techniques were working and training at both academies.

The Düsseldorf school of painting refers to a group of painters who taught or studied at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (now the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf) between the 1830s and the 1860s. During this time the Kunstakademie was held in high esteem throughout Europe and the USA. Rather bohemian in direction, days were filled with classes in drawing and color and also history and anatomy, with nights devoted to socializing centered around reading and discussion. Directed by the painter Schadow family §(3) and artists following the ...

Article

Constance M. Greiff

(b Edinburgh, July 22, 1810; d Philadelphia, PA, March 3, 1865).

American architect of Scottish birth. He was prominent among the emigré architects of the first half of the 19th century who introduced into America new styles, a greater professionalism, and more sophisticated approaches to design.

According to an anonymous manuscript biography (ex-Hist. Soc., Philadelphia, PA, now lost), Notman served an apprenticeship as a carpenter in Edinburgh. He then worked for the architect William Henry Playfair (see Playfair family §(2)), whose early essays in the Italianate style Notman later introduced in the USA. In 1831, following a period of economic depression in Edinburgh and the consequent collapse of its construction industry, Notman immigrated to the USA, settling in Philadelphia, where he supported himself as a carpenter. His first major design commission was for the Laurel Hill Cemetery (1836–9), Philadelphia, PA. Derived from Kensal Green Cemetery, London, Laurel Hill was the earliest architect-designed Picturesque rural cemetery in the USA. Rural cemeteries and other landscape designs continued to be an important aspect of his work. Later cemeteries included Hollywood Cemetery (...

Article

Elizabeth Johns

(b New Bedford, MA, March 19, 1847; d Elmhurst, NY, March 28, 1917).

American painter. He is generally considered to be America’s greatest visionary painter. His c. 160 canvases, intense in colour and pattern and often with mysterious thematic overtones, are distinctively Romantic.

Raised in the whaling community of New Bedford, MA, Ryder moved to New York with his family c. 1870. He had already begun painting landscapes. Independent in mind and inclined to learn from experimentation, he studied at the New York National Academy of Design, but only irregularly. His best instruction was received informally, from the New York portrait painter and engraver William E. Marshall (1837–1906). He adopted the habit of studying engravings and was strongly attracted to the pastoral works of recent painters, particularly those of Camille Corot and the other Barbizon painters. His own work, for example Curfew Hour (1882; New York, Met.), incorporated the earthen tonalities, simplified interlocking patterns of human, animal and landscape forms and the quiet light effects characteristic of the French painters....

Article

Peter Bermingham

(b East Liberty, PA, March 2, 1822; d New York, Jan 22, 1900).

American painter. Born the son of a merchant in a suburb of Pittsburgh, he moved to Cincinnati at an early age. Despite his father’s opposition, he began a career as an itinerant landscape painter in the mid-1840s, selling paintings and sketches throughout the Ohio Valley. An exhibition of his work, held in a store, won him a commission in 1846 from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to paint a series of views along its route. In 1855 Sonntag travelled to Italy to study in Florence for a year, a journey that resulted in Classic Italian Landscape with Temple of Venus (c. 1860; Washington, DC, Corcoran Gal. A.). He lived permanently in New York after 1860, and by 1862 he was a full academician at the National Academy of Design there.

Sonntag was always a wanderer in the lesser-known, picturesque areas of Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, along the Kanauba, Potomac and Ohio rivers, which often featured in his paintings, for example ...