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Adams, Herbert Samuel (28 January 1858–21 May 1945), sculptor, was born in West Concord, Vermont, the son of Samuel Minot Adams, a machinist and patternmaker, and Nancy Ann Powers. Adams grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He studied at a technical school in Worcester and at the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston before traveling to Paris, where he studied with Antonin Mercié at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1885 to 1890. In 1888 he made a bronze fountain for the town of Fitchburg that features two boys playing with turtles. In 1888–1889 his work won an honorable mention at a Paris exhibition....

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Allen, Joel Asaph (19 July 1838–29 August 1921), zoologist and museum official, was born near Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Joel Allen, a carpenter, housebuilder, and later a farmer, and Harriet Trumbull, a former schoolteacher. Allen attended the local public schools in the wintertime, but his father, a rigidly puritanical Congregationalist, insisted that he work on the family farm during good weather. From the age of about fourteen, as Allen’s interest in natural history, particularly birds, increased, his interest in farming diminished. He nevertheless worked long hours for his father in a spirit of filial loyalty, possibly laying the foundation for the serious bouts of ill health that would plague him in later years. Whenever possible, he prepared study specimens of birds and animals for his own private collection. From 1858 to 1862 Allen’s father supported his intermittent attendance at nearby Wilbraham Academy....

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Audubon, John James (26 April 1785–27 January 1851), naturalist and artist, was born Jean Rabin Fougère in Les Cayes, Santo Domingo, the son of Captain Jean Audubon, a French sea captain, planter, and slave dealer, and Jeanne Rabin (or Rabine), a young Frenchwoman employed as a chambermaid on the island. The traditional view, that Mlle Rabin was a Creole woman native to Santo Domingo, has been disproved. Audubon’s mother died before he was seven months old, and the child was cared for by another mistress of the father’s with whom he had several children. In 1791, fearing worsening conditions in Santo Domingo, Captain Audubon arranged for his son and a younger daughter by his mistress Catherine “Sanitte” Bouffard to be taken to France. There both were well cared for by Captain Audubon’s legal spouse, Anne Moynet Audubon, who had no children of her own. Both children were formally adopted by the couple in 1794, as was required if they were legally to inherit Captain Audubon’s name and property, and were baptized in 1800. At this time the boy received the name Jean-Jacques Fougère Audubon....

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Avedon, Richard (15 May 1923–01 October 2004), photographer, was born in New York City to Jacob Israel Avedon (pronounced AV-uh-don) and Anne Polonsky. His father, an orphaned Jewish émigré from Russia, rose from menial employment in Manhattan’s garment district to become the owner of a successful women’s clothing store in the city. The elder Avedon taught his son frugality from an early age and assumed he would become a businessman. However, Richard Avedon’s exposure to the city’s wealth of culture drew him to the arts. That exposure included not only visits to concerts and museums but also hearing the Russian-born pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, a neighbor of his maternal grandparents, practicing tirelessly next door during Richard’s frequent visits to their apartment. A seminal moment in his life occurred at the age of seven when he was given a box camera and used it to take a photograph of Rachmaninoff backstage after a Carnegie Hall performance....

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Barnard, George Grey (24 May 1863–24 April 1938), sculptor, was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph H. Barnard, a Presbyterian minister, and Martha Gray Grubbe. Before his seventeenth year, George had moved with his family first to Waukosha, Wisconsin, and later to Chicago and Kankakee, Illinois, and to Muscatine, Iowa. In 1880 Barnard entered the Chicago Academy of Design, the forerunner of the Chicago Art Institute. There he studied under academy founder ...

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Barnes, Albert Coombs (02 January 1872–24 July 1951), collector, educator, and entrepreneur, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Jesse Barnes, a butcher, and Lydia A. Schafer. Barnes’s father lost his right arm in the Civil War, and his ability to support his family proved sporadic. However, Albert’s mother, to whom he was devoted, was hardworking and resourceful. Among his most vivid childhood memories were the exuberant black religious revivals and camp meetings he attended with his devout Methodist parents. Accepted at the academically demanding Central High School, which awarded bachelor’s degrees, his early interest in art was stimulated by his friendship with the future artist ...

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Barney, Alice Pike (14 January 1857–12 October 1931), artist and arts patron, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Samuel Napthali Pike, an arts patron and successful businessman, and Ursula Muellion “Ellen” Miller. She grew up and was educated at various schools in Cincinnati and New York City, her family having moved there in 1866. Although Barney courted the famous British explorer ...

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Bearden, Romare (02 September 1911–11 March 1988), artist, was born Romare Howard Bearden in Charlotte, North Carolina, the son of R. Howard Bearden, a grocer, and Bessye Johnson. When Bearden was about four years old the family moved to New York, settling in Harlem, where he went to public school and his parents developed a wide network of acquaintances among the Harlem jazz musicians and intellectuals of the day. His father later became an inspector for the New York Board of Health; his mother, a civic leader. Bearden finished high school in Pittsburgh, however, having lived there for a time with his grandmother. In 1932, after two years at Boston University, he transferred to New York University, where he did illustrations for the undergraduate humor magazine and earned a B.S. degree in mathematics in 1935. For the next two years he contributed political cartoons to the ...

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Bel Geddes, Barbara (31 October 1922–08 August 2005), actress, children's book author-illustrator, and painter, was born in New York City, the daughter of Norman Bel Geddes, a noted architect and stage designer, and Helen Belle Sneider, an English teacher. Educated at a series of private schools in and around New England, she also spent time in the company of her illustrious father, who was involved in hundreds of theater productions in many capacities. Once after a school play, the drama teacher at the Putney School in Vermont regretfully informed her father that Barbara had “no talent” (...

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Benton, Thomas Hart (15 April 1889–09 January 1975), painter, was born in Neosho, Missouri, the son of Maecenas Eason Benton, a politician, and Elizabeth Wise. Benton grew up in an environment of politics and conflict. He was named for his great-uncle Thomas Hart Benton...

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Phillip Drennon Thomas

Bierstadt, Albert (07 January 1830–18 February 1902), artist, was born in Solingen, Germany, the son of Henry Bierstadt, a cooper, and Christina M. Tillmans. In 1832 his family emigrated to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where his father made barrels for the whaling trade. Showing no particular aptitude for art in his early years, Albert received a traditional New England education in the local grammar schools. His formal education did not extend beyond this level. By 1853 he was determined to become an artist and sailed that year for Düsseldorf, Germany, to study art. His limited means prevented him from formally enrolling in the academy at Düsseldorf, one of the most important centers for artistic study in the German states. Through friendships with ...

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Bluemner, Oscar Julius (21 June 1867–12 January 1938), painter, was born in Prenzlau, Germany (Prussia), the son of Hermann Bluemner, a master builder. His mother’s name is unknown. After passing his Abitur examination in Elberfeld, he entered the Königliche Technische Hochschule in Berlin (Charlottenburg), where he studied architecture under Hermann Ende and Fritz Wolff between 1887 and 1892. Before graduating he designed public buildings in Glewitz and Halle am Saale and was awarded a Royal Academy medal for the painting of an architectural subject....

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Borglum, Gutzon (25 March 1867–06 March 1941), sculptor, was born near Great Bear Lake in Idaho Territory, the son of Jens Møller Haugaard Borglum, a Mormon-convert carpenter from Denmark, and Christina Mikkelsen (later Cristine Michelson). Jens also had another wife, Christina’s sister Ida. Christina was the mother both of the christened John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, and of a second son. Ida also had a son by Jens. After Christina withdrew from the troublesome plural marriage, Jens took Ida and their son to St. Louis, became a physician, and changed his name to James Miller Borglum, practicing medicine in Fremont, Nebraska. Eventually he and Ida had a total of seven children. Gutzon attended school in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1882, worked in a machine shop in Omaha, became an apprentice lithographer in Los Angeles in 1883, and studied painting. In 1888 he completed a portrait of ...

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Bosworth, Welles (08 May 1869–03 June 1966), architect, was born William Welles Bosworth in Marietta, Ohio, the son of Daniel Perkins Bosworth, Jr., a merchant, and Clara Van Zandt. After graduating from the Marietta Academy in 1885, Bosworth enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that fall. During his student years Bosworth worked part time in the architectural offices of ...

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Brady, Mathew B. (1823?–15 January 1896), photographer and entrepreneur, was born near Lake George, New York, the son of Andrew Brady and Julia (maiden name unknown), poor, working-class parents of Irish heritage. His first name has often been misspelled Matthew; Brady himself did not know what his middle initial stood for. Little is known of his childhood and schooling, and there is some question as to how literate Brady was because others handled his correspondence and financial records. His signature is one of the few examples of his handwriting left behind....

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Cadmus, Paul (17 December 1904–12 December 1999), artist, was born in New York City, the son of Egbert Cadmus and Maria Latasa Cadmus, artists. His father was a lithographer and painter of watercolors who had studied with Robert Henri; his mother illustrated children's books. Egbert Cadmus was of Protestant Dutch ancestry and a self-proclaimed atheist; his wife, of Spanish descent, was an observant Roman Catholic. The resulting tension in the household led their son to separate himself from all religious doctrines. But he did acquire from them a precocious ability to draw the human figure. He later recalled that by the time he was ten years old he knew he wanted to become a painter. Cadmus attended local public schools until 1919, when he dropped out of Townsend Harris High School and enrolled in drawing and printmaking classes at the National Academy of Design in Manhattan. After seven years of study in various media at the academy he enrolled for further training at the Art Students League, also in Manhattan....

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Calder, A. Stirling (11 January 1870–06 January 1945), sculptor, was born Alexander Stirling Calder in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Alexander Milne Calder, a stonecutter who became a sculptor, and Margaret Stirling. Natives of Scotland, Calder’s parents immigrated in 1868 to the United States, where the elder Calder found much success in Philadelphia, working on commemorative statues (he had worked on the Albert Memorial in London). As a boy Calder dreamed of a military career. After he was rejected by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, however, he turned his attention to art. In 1885 he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as his father had done, and studied under the realist painter and portraitist ...

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Calder, Alexander (22 July 1898–11 November 1976), sculptor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Alexander Stirling Calder, a sculptor, and Nanette Lederer, a painter. Alexander “Sandy” Calder was the grandson of Alexander Milne Calder, who was known for his sculptural decoration of Philadelphia’s City Hall, completed in 1886. Both of his parents attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His father was chief of sculpture for the last great Beaux-Arts sculptural exhibition, the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915, and his mother continued to work as a portrait painter throughout her life....

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Carnegie, Hattie (15 March 1886–22 February 1956), fashion designer and merchandiser, was born Henrietta Könengeiser in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of Isaac Könengeiser and Hannah Kraenzer. The family emigrated to the United States, settling on New York’s Lower East Side in 1892. Hattie’s first job was as a messenger at R. H. Macy’s, where she encountered the heady new world of modern retailing and the lifestyle of affluent New York. That experience may have inspired her to assume the name Carnegie; ...

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Cartier, Pierre (1878–27 October 1964), jeweler, was born Pierre-Camille Cartier in France, the son of Louis-François-Alfred Cartier, also a jeweler; his mother's name is unknown. Pierre Cartier's grandfather Louis-François Cartier (1819–1904) founded Cartier, the renowned jewelry company, in Paris in 1847. Early on, Pierre Cartier and his brothers Louis-Joseph and Jacques-Théodule worked in the family business. Cartier's original clientele included French royalty as well as a burgeoning upper middle class, soon complemented by international customers traveling through the country. Aristocrats from all over Europe and Russia as well as wealthy Americans such as ...