Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New York City's Early Artists (2)

Miscellaneous Early Artists Tid-Bits

The last of the Dutch painters to arrive was Gerret van Ravolst, who is so described in the minute by which he is made a freeman of the city of New York in 1751. Meantime, the English painters were making themselves felt in the New World. In 1754 Richard Clarke Cooke, "limner," was admitted a freeman. Lawrence Kilbrunn was painting in New York from 1754 to 1755. During this early period New York was visited by John Wollaston, who painted a number of portraits while here, but is confused by Dunlap and other authorities with his father, also an English painter of distinction, but who spelled his name Woolaston. Many of the portraits of the Bayards and Beekmans of this early period were the work of Abraham Delanoy.

Matthew Pratt painted some fifty large portraits in New York, which also received professional visits from Malbone. Joseph Wright executed some commissions and was liberally patronized, as was also Gilbert Stuart, when, on his return to America in 1793, he set up his easel for some months in New York City before going to Philadelphia. Bass Otis appeared in New York about 1808, two years later than Thomas Sully, who came in 1806, and again in 1814, by invitation from New York City, to paint Commodore Decatur's portrait, the first of the series of full-lengths of heroes of the War of 1812, ordered by the Common Council.

Meanwhile a number of talented artists had settled permanently in New York City. James Sharpless, an Englishman, who worked principally in pastel, came about 1798, John Trumbull in 1804, and John Paradise in 1810. Rembrandt Peale removed to New York City in 1834. John Wesley Jarvis, an Englishman by birth, was for many years one of the foremost portrait painters in New York, which owns a number of his pictures. Among his contemporaries were William Dunlap, James Herring, who, with James B. Longacre, of Philadelphia, published the "National Portrait Gallery"; Samuel F. B. Morse, among whose portraits is one of Fitz-Greene Halleck in the Public Library; Asher B. Durand, and Samuel L. Waldo, who entered into a partnership with his pupil, William Jewett.


The first of New York's institutions devoted to fine arts had for its president Chancellor Livingston. Founded in 1801 as the New York Academy of Fine Arts it was incorporated in 1908 as the American Academy of Fine Arts . The second institution of importance was the National Academy of Design, founded in 1828, but it is a matter of regret that the records of both were most inadequately kept.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: From My collection of books, History of New York State 1523-1927.Volume V Publisher: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc.-New York Copyright: 1927.

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