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Anderson, Alexander (21 April 1775–17 January 1870), engraver, was born in New York city, the son of John Anderson, a printer and publisher, and Sarah Lockwood. By 1790 the Andersons were living on Wall Street; they were Episcopalians, of moderate means, with varied interests and social contacts. The family was close-knit and affectionate....

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Arms, John Taylor (19 April 1887–13 October 1953), architectural etcher, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of John Taylor Arms, a real estate broker, and Kate Watkins. Born into a long line of businessmen, clergymen, and teachers descended from a seventeenth-century Massachusetts stocking-knitter, Arms was the first in his family to become an artist....

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Barrymore, Lionel (28 April 1878–15 November 1954), actor, composer, and artist, was born Lionel Blythe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Herbert Blythe, an actor who adopted the stage name Maurice Barrymore, and Georgiana Drew (Georgie Drew Barrymore), an actress. His mother’s family had been in the theater for generations. Lionel was raised chiefly in the Philadelphia home of his maternal grandmother, actress-manager ...

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Bellows, George Wesley (12 August 1882–08 January 1925), painter and printmaker, was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of George Bellows, a builder and contractor, and Anna Smith. In 1901 Bellows entered Ohio State University, where his extracurricular activities included athletics and art. He dropped out of college near the end of his third year and in the fall of 1904 headed for New York City, where he intended to train for a professional career as an illustrator. Bellows enrolled in the New York School of Art, where ...

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Martin R. Kalfatovic

Biddle, George (24 January 1885–06 November 1973), artist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Algernon Sydney Biddle, a lawyer, and Frances Robinson. Though the Biddles were a leading family of Pennsylvania, George’s own immediate family, though quite comfortable, was never wealthy. Biddle attended Groton School in Massachusetts and Harvard College. After graduation in 1908, he spent a year in Texas and Mexico working on a cattle ranch to build up his fragile health. Returning to Harvard, he received a law degree in 1911, but, although he was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, he never practiced....

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Birch, William Russell (09 April 1755–07 August 1834), enamelist, engraver, and painter, was born in Warwickshire, England, the son of Thomas Birch, a successful surgeon, and Mary Russell. Because Birch was unsuccessful at Latin school, his wealthy and paternalistic cousin, William Russell of Birmingham, took him into his care and eventually apprenticed him to his friend, the London jeweler and goldsmith Thomas Jeffreys. After six years, Birch left to study enamel painting with Henry Spicer. In 1775 he exhibited two enamel miniatures at the Society of Artists....

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Bodmer, Karl (11 February 1809–30 October 1893), artist, was born in Zurich, Switzerland, the son of Heinrich Bodmer, a cotton merchant, and his second wife Elisabeth Meier. After a brief elementary education, Bodmer was apprenticed to his uncle Johann Jakob Meier, from whom he learned sketching, engraving, and watercolor, the medium of his finest works....

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Nancy Mowll Mathews

Cassatt, Mary (22 May 1844–13 June 1926), artist, was born Mary Stevenson Cassatt in Allegheny City (now part of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, the daughter of Robert Simpson Cassatt and Katherine Kelso Johnston. At the time of her birth, her father was a forwarding merchant, buying raw materials from the frontier states and selling them to eastern manufacturers, but in later years he opened an investment firm in Philadelphia. Her mother was the daughter of Alexander Johnston, the first director of the Bank of Pittsburgh....

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Mary Cassatt. Oil on canvas, c. 1880-1884, by Edgar Degas. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and the Regents' Major Acquisitions Fund, Smithsonian Institution.

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Chapman, John Gadsby (11 August 1808–28 November 1889), artist, was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of Charles T. Chapman, a businessman, and Sarah Margaret Gadsby. He was named for his maternal grandfather John Gadsby, a well-known tavern keeper. Chapman grew up in Alexandria and attended the academy there. Early on he displayed an interest in art, which was encouraged by the artists ...

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Clements, Gabrielle DeVaux (11 September 1858–23 March 1948), oil and mural painter and etcher, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Richard Clements, a physician, and Gabrielle DeVaux. When she was seventeen, Clements studied lithography with Charles Page, an ornamental designer and printmaker, at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. She made scientific drawings and lithographs for Cornell University, from which she received a B.S. in 1880. Although her coursework specialized in science, she wrote her senior thesis on “A Study of Two German Masters in Medieval Art, Dürer and Holbein.” Clements studied with painter ...

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Jeffrey M. Burns

Corita (20 November 1918–18 September 1986), artist, was born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the daughter of Robert Vincent Kent, a businessman, and Edith Genevieve Sanders. The Kent family moved several times, first to Vancouver, Canada, then again to Hollywood, California, where the family settled. In 1936 she entered the religious order Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), taking the religious name Sister Mary Corita. In 1941 she received her B.A. from Immaculate Heart College, after which she was assigned to the IHM convent in British Columbia. There she taught grade school, including more than one year at a school on an American Indian reservation. She returned to Los Angeles to teach art at Immaculate Heart College (IHC), receiving her master’s degree in art history from the University of Southern California in 1951. She taught art at IHC from 1951 until 1968, serving as chair of the art department from 1964 until 1968....

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Doolittle, Amos (18 May 1754–31 January 1832), engraver, was born in Cheshire, Connecticut, the son of Ambrose Doolittle and Martha Munson (occupations unknown). Doolittle apprenticed under Eliakim Hitchcock, a silversmith, but he may have taught himself to engrave copper plates. By 1774, he was living in New Haven, where he remained until his death. He appears to have prospered, owning a house and shop on College Street in which he rented out a large room to individuals and organizations, including the Masons, who met there from 1801 to 1826. Doolittle was himself a dedicated Mason from 1792 until his death....

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Doughty, Thomas (19 July 1793–22 July 1856), lithographer and landscape painter, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Young Doughty, a ship carpenter, and Mary Young. He was apprenticed to a leather merchant when he was sixteen and continued in this occupation for approximately ten years. Doughty apparently taught himself how to paint, and around 1816 he painted his first landscapes. It was also at this time that he listed his occupation as “painter” in the Philadelphia register, among the first American artists to do so. He was an avid hunter and fisherman whose intense love of nature inspired him to capture the serenity and joy he experienced in the wooded hills and along the quiet streams of the Northeast....

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Asher Brown Durand. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109970).

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Durand, Asher Brown (21 August 1796–17 September 1886), engraver and painter, was born in Jefferson Village (now Maplewood), New Jersey, the son of John Durand, a watchmaker and silversmith, and Rachel Meyer Post. Following five or six years of study at the village public school and summers spent working in his father’s shop, where he learned engraving, from 1812 to 1817 he was apprenticed to the New Jersey engraver Peter Maverick. In 1817 he formed a partnership with Maverick and opened a branch of the firm in New York. Around 1818 Durand began informal study and drawing from plaster casts at the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York, where his work came to the attention of the academy’s president, ...

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Wendy Wick Reaves

Edwin, David ( December 1776–22 February 1841), engraver, was born in Bath, England, the son of John Edwin, a famous comic actor, and Mrs. Walmsley (first name unknown), a milliner. He learned his trade as an apprentice to the Dutch printmaker Christian Jossi, who was in England studying the art of stipple engraving. This intaglio technique, which was particularly suitable for portraiture, created tonal effects through a profusion of small dots on the plate. In 1796 Jossi returned to Amsterdam, taking his apprentice along but, after a short while, Edwin decided to leave his master. Since ships to England were unavailable, he earned his passage as a sailor on board a ship bound for Philadelphia....

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Eichenberg, Fritz (24 October 1901–30 November 1990), illustrator and woodcut artist, was born in Cologne, Germany, the son of Siegfried Eichenberg, a merchant, and Ida Marcus, a merchant after her husband's death in 1915. At about the age of sixteen, after eleven years of traditional Gymnasium schooling that he described as “brutal in demanding unconditional obedience” ( ...

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Gág, Wanda (11 March 1893–27 June 1946), artist and children's book writer, artist and children’s book writer, was born Wanda Hazel Gág in New Ulm, Minnesota, the daughter of Anton Gág and Elisabeth Biebl. Gág (which rhymes with “cog”) grew up in a heavily European culture. Her father was born in Bohemia, as were her mother’s parents. New Ulm was settled largely by German and Bohemian and Hungarian immigrants, and Gág grew up surrounded by Old World customs and legends and Bavarian and Bohemian folk songs, an upbringing that would heavily influence her artistic style and choice of subject matter....

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Getchell, Edith Loring Peirce (25 January 1855–18 September 1940), painter and etcher, was born in Bristol, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Unitarians Joseph S. Peirce, a well-to-do candle manufacturer and politician, and Ann Moore. Peirce’s parents sent her in 1874 to study art with Peter Moran at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, where she specialized in textile design. Returning to Bristol after three years at the school, Peirce designed textiles for Livingston Mills....