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John LaFarge BiographyAmerican Naturalist artist
born 1835 - died 1910
Thomas Couture (1815-1879),
William Morris Hunt
John LaFarge was born in New
York City on March 31, 1835. He graduated from Mount St. Mary's College in
Emmitsburg, Md., in 1853, and studied law in 1854-1855. The artist went to
Europe in 1856 to study and travel, remaining until the end of 1857. In Paris he met many prominent
literary and artistic figures and studied
painting briefly with Thomas Couture. In
England, La Farge saw the painting of the Pre-Raphaelite artists and in Germany
the rich collections of Old Masters. On his return to America the painter
decided to take up painting and settled in Newport, R.I., where he studied with
William Morris Hunt. In 1860 he married.
|Painter, decorator, and writer, b. at New York, 31 March, 1835; d. at Providence, Rhode Island, 14 Nov., 1910. His parents were John Frederick de LaFarge, a French naval officer, and Louise Josephine Binsse (de St. Victor). Though his interest in art was aroused during his college training at Mount St. Mary's and Fordham University,|
Breadth of observation and structural
conception, and a vivid imagination and
sense of colour are shown by his mural
decorations. His first painting in mural
painting was done in Trinity Church, Boston,
in 1873. Then followed his decorations in
the Church of the Ascension (the large
altarpiece) and St. Paul's Church, New York.
For the State Capitol at St. Paul John LaFarge executed, in his seventy-first year, four
great lunettes representing the history of
religion, and for the Supreme Court building
at Baltimore, a similar series with Justice
as the theme. In addition there are his
numberless minor paintings and water
colours, notably those recording his extensive travels in the Orient and South
LaFarge writings include: "The American Art of Glass" (a pamphlet); "Considerations on Painting" (New York, 1895); "An Artist's Letters from Japan" (New York, 1897); "The Great Masters" (New York); "Hokusai: a talk about Japanese painting" (New York, 1897); "The Higher Life in Art" (New York, 1908); "One Hundred Great Masterpieces"; "The Christian Story in Art"; and the unpublished "Letters from the South Seas"; and "Correspondence".
|His labours in almost every field of art won for him from theFrench Government the Cross of the Legion of Honour and membership in the principal artistic societies of America, as well as the presidency of the Society of Mural Painters. Enjoying an extraordinary knowledge of languages (ancient and modern), literature, and art, by his cultured personality and reflective conversation John LaFarge greatly influenced all who knew him. Though naturally a questioner John LaFarge venerated the traditions of religious art, and preserved always his childlike Catholic Faith and reverence.|
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