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Article

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

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

Carol Magee

(b Dec 8, 1956).

Ethiopian painter, installation artist, graphic designer, and writer, active in the USA. She grew up in Addis Ababa in a family of painters before moving to the USA. She graduated from Howard University, Washington, DC, with a BFA in painting (1975) and returned in 1994 for an MFA. Her early works, based on dreams or visions, have richly textured surfaces. In the 1980s she abandoned her early palette of reds, ochres, and greens for one of purples and blues. Later paintings depict an urban environment and frequently evoke the feeling of dislocation and nostalgia that comes from living in a country that is not one’s own. Her use of themes and motifs from myriad cultures (including those of Ethiopia and Latin America) comes out of her experiences as a diasporic subject as well as the lives of the women around her. Her pieces often tell their stories, as in the Dream Dancers series (...

Article

Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Haag, Austria, April 5, 1900; d Santa Barbara, CA, Sept 30, 1985).

American painter, designer, photographer and typographer, of Austrian birth. After serving in the Austrian army (1917–18), Bayer studied architecture under Professor Schmidthammer in Linz in 1919 and in 1920 worked with the architect Emanuel Margold in Darmstadt. From 1921 to 1923 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying mural painting (with Vasily Kandinsky) and typography; it was at this time that he created the Universal alphabet, consisting only of lowercase letters. In 1925 he returned to the Bauhaus, then in Dessau, as a teacher of advertising, layout and typography, remaining there until 1928. For the next ten years he was based in Berlin as a commercial artist: he worked as art manager of Vogue (1929–30) and as director of the Dorland advertising agency. Shortly after his first one-man exhibitions at the Galerie Povolotski, Paris, and at the Kunstlerbund März, Linz (both 1929), he created photomontages of a Surrealist nature, such as ...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Neosho, MO, April 15, 1889; d Kansas City, MO, Jan 19, 1975).

American painter, illustrator, and lithographer. One of the most controversial personalities in American art, both in his lifetime and today, Thomas Hart Benton was a key figure in the American Regionalist movement of the 1930s, when he focused on working-class American subject-matter and was outspoken in his denunciation of European modern painting. Today he is best remembered for this phase of his life, and much criticized because of it. But Benton’s long career is not easily reduced to a single moment or achievement: his legacy was more complex. As a young struggling artist in Paris and New York, he was a leading American modernist and abstractionist, and in his early maturity he became the teacher and lifelong father figure for Jackson Pollock, the most famous of the Abstract Expressionists. He was also a major American writer, who wrote on art and whose autobiography of 1936 became a best-seller. He was also a notable figure in American music who collected American folk songs and devised a new form of harmonica notation that is still in use....

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(Karel Joseph)

(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 23, 1906; d Red Wing, MN, Dec 26, 2004).

American painter and theorist. Biederman worked as a graphic designer for several years before studying art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1926 to 1929. A week after his arrival he saw a painting by Cézanne that greatly influenced his subsequent thought. He lived in New York from 1934 to 1940, except for a nine-month period in 1936–7 when he lived in Paris. He began to make reliefs in 1934. His visits in Paris to the studios of Mondrian, Georges Vantongerloo, César Domela and Antoine Pevsner made him aware of De Stijl, Neo-Plasticism, Abstraction-Création and Constructivism. He also met Léger, Miró, Arp, Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Alberto Giacometti, Picasso and Brancusi.

Shortly before returning to New York in 1938, Biederman made his first abstract reliefs, which he termed ‘non-mimetic’ (e.g. New York, Number 18, 1938; New York, Met.). In the same year, while visiting Chicago, he attended a seminar given by the Polish-born writer Alfred Korzybski, founder of the General Semantics Institute, which strongly influenced his later theories about history as an evolutionary process. He moved to Red Wing, near Minneapolis, MN, in ...

Article

Michael D. Willis

(b Ormskirk, Lancs, Oct 17, 1879; d Vancouver, Oct 15, 1957).

Canadian painter and illustrator of English birth. She briefly attended the Liverpool Art School, the Lambeth School of Art, London, and finally, from 1900, the Slade School of Art, London, where she studied with Henry Tonks and others. From 1901 Biller was a successful illustrator of children’s magazines, books and Christmas annuals, chiefly for T. C. & E. C. Jack of London. Many titles were translated into German, and they enjoyed wide circulation in Europe. After marrying John Biller (1912), she emigrated to Canada. While her commercial work virtually ceased there, she never stopped illustrating her life and surroundings in letters and sketchbooks. After her husband’s death in World War I, Biller settled with her two children on James Island (near Victoria) in 1919. In 1927 she moved to Victoria, where she was an active member of the (Vancouver) Island Arts and Crafts Society, founded by Josephine Crease. Biller’s watercolours often appeared in the Society’s exhibitions. Relocation to Vancouver in ...

Article

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

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

Amy Fox

(b St Petersburg, April 4, 1905; d New York, 1973).

American illustrator, graphic designer, and painter of Russian birth. Vera Bock moved to the USA in 1917 during the height of the Russian Revolution, arriving in San Francisco. The daughter of an American banker and a Russian-born concert pianist, she studied woodcutting, manuscript illumination, printing, and photogravure in England for a year, supplementing her training in painting and drawing. Her book illustration career began in 1929 with the publishing of two books, Waldemar Bonsels’s The Adventures of Maya the Bee and Elle Young’s The Tangle-Coated Horse, a book that was reviewed in 1930 for the Newbery Medal and in 1938 received retro-active Honor Book status.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s she was employed by the Federal Art Project (FAP) through the Works Progress Administration (later Works Projects Administration; WPA) of the US Government. During 1936–9 she illustrated and designed posters for the FAP New York City poster division. Most noted posters from this period are ...

Article

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

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 family, §2. 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

Amy Meyers

(b Castle Hedingham, Essex, March 24, 1682; d London, Dec 23, 1749).

English naturalist, painter and graphic artist active in the American colonies. His scientific expeditions to the British colonies in North America and the Caribbean (1712–19 and 1722–6) resulted in the first fully illustrated survey of the flora and fauna of the British Colonies in the Americas. The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1731–47) contains 220 hand-coloured etchings. Catesby received lessons in etching from Joseph Goupy and executed most of the plates after his own drawings in graphite, gouache and watercolour. He also produced several plates after drawings by John White, Georg Dionysius Ehret, Everhard Kick and Claude Aubriet.

Catesby moved against the 18th-century trend in the natural sciences to portray Creation as a neatly ordered hierarchy of clearly definable parts. His pictures helped to promote a revolutionary view of the cosmos as a complex system of interdependent elements and forces. Instead of depicting organisms in the conventional manner as isolated specimens against an empty page, he produced tight compositional arrangements in which animals and plants from similar environments reflect one another’s forms. Catesby’s radical images of an integrated cosmos influenced eminent English and American naturalists, including George Edwards (...

Article

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 family, §1 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

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

Kirk Marlow

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

English painter, illustrator, writer and Soldier, active in Canada. As a young cadet at Woolwich Royal Military Academy (1793–5) he took instruction in topographical drawing from Paul Sandby. He travelled and sketched in continental Europe and established a reputation with his illustrations to picturesque travel-books of Italy and the Alpine regions of Switzerland.

In 1826 Cockburn went to 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. It points out the panoramic vistas that would undoubtedly delight all visitors to and residents of Quebec city, which is perched on a cliff overlooking the St Lawrence River....

Article

Aaris Sherin

(b Jersey City, NJ, March 26, 1927; d Manhattan, NY, Oct 4, 2016).

American graphic designer and painter. Cohen received her MFA in art at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA (1945–6) and a BFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1947–8). Her professional experience with design began when she married the graphic designer Alvin Lustig (1915–55) in 1948 and began working in his office as secretary, production assistant, and draughtsman. Her duties increased and became more design related as Lustig’s health, particularly his sight, deteriorated due to chronic diabetes. Cohen did not begin doing independent work until clients asked her to complete jobs that were still in progress at the time of Lustig’s death. Although her early work was influenced by her late husband, she quickly developed her own distinct visual language and style.

Cohen received widespread acclaim for the book covers she designed as art director for Meridian Books, which published reprints and contemporary works in paperback that were intended for a college-age audience. Cohen’s cover designs were fresh and appealed to this young market. Although heavily influenced by modernism, her work has a playfulness and humour that is often characterized by a willingness to experiment with composition and materials. For the cover of the journal ...

Article

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

M. Sue Kendall

(b nr Dunavant, KS, Nov 14, 1897; d Madison, WI, Aug 29, 1946).

American painter and illustrator. As one of the ‘Regionalist triumvirate’, with Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, he has been most often characterized as a faithful chronicler of rural life in Kansas. From 1916 to 1918 he was at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1919 he began study in the studio of Harvey Dunn (1884–1952) in Tenafly, NJ. After seven years as an illustrator in and around New York, he went to Paris in 1926 to study with the Russian Academician Vasily Shukhayev. Ironically, it was on Curry’s return to the East Coast the following year that he began to earn his reputation as a Regionalist by painting memories of Kansas from his studio in the fashionable art colony of Westport, CT. Baptism in Kansas (1928; New York, Whitney, see American Scene painting) shows a country child being baptized in a cattle trough. Such paintings of early American life appealed to certain East Coast urban viewers seeking to recover a lost past....

Article

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 ...