Vereshchagin was born in Cherepovets, Russia in 1842. At 8 years old he was sent to naval cadet school. He made his first voyage at the age of 16.
Vereshchagin graduated first in his class from Naval school but left the service and joined the Saint Petersburg Academy to study drawing and painting. Two years later he won a medal and the next year travelled to Paris to study under Jean-Leon Gerome.
In 1867 he rejoined the service and received a medal for bravery at the siege of Samarkand. He returned to Paris in 1868 and Started an Atelier in Munich in 1871.
He continued to travel extensively through Asia from North Africa to India and the Philippines. Besides painting exotic cultures he also painted brutally realistic depictions of war and was onsite during many conflicts. His paintings were considered too real and banned from being published or exhibited in many countries of Europe and in his native Russia.
Vereshchagin was with Russian troops during the Russo Turkish War 1877-1878, The First Sino-Japanese War 1894-1895 and The Boxer Rebellion in 1900.
Eventually his depictions of the horrors of war brought him success and fame though his work continued to be controversial in certain circles.
He died during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 when the warship he was on struck two mines and sank, killing most of the crew, including Vereshchagin.
Masterpieces of Bourgeois Realism
Popular 19thCentury Painting
A Dictionary of European Genre Painters
Philip Hook and Mark Poltimore
Antique Collectors Club
Martin Rico y Ortega was born in El Escorial, Madrid Spain in 1833. His early education was in Madrid at the Escuella de Bellas Artes des San Fernando. It was here he was influenced by his teacher Jenaro Perez Villaamil to work from life. He won a government scholarship to study in Paris France in 1860. In France he became friends with the Barbizon painter Charles Daubigny. In 1866 He won a silver medal at the Paris Salon. Ortega briefly returned to Spain during the outbreak of the Franco –Prussian War from 1870 to 1871.
By 1878 he had returned to Paris and that same year he was awarded a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle and was made a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur. By 1879 he was living permanently in Paris and spending his summers in Venice. His Venice work was painted outdoors often in gondolas or along the canals. In 1889 he was again awarded at the Exposition Universelle this time a silver medal.
Though he painted and travelled throughout Europe, Ortega is most remembered for his beautiful light filled scenes of Venice. His works are a tour de force of precise landscape painting. Martin Rico Ortega died in Venice in 1908.
Impressions of Europe: Nineteenth Century Vistas by Martin Rico
Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University (2013)
William Bliss Baker was born in New York City in 1859. At 17 he began studying at the National Academy of Design with Albert Bierstadt and Mauritz De Haas. Baker showed ability from the beginning of his studies and quickly became known to art critics. Baker won the Elliott prize during his first exhibit in 1879 at the academy and in 1885 Baker won the Julius Hallgarten Prize at the Academy for his painting Woodland Brook.
Baker built a studio named ‘The Castle’ in Clifton Park on Ballston Lake and also maintained a studio in the Knickerbocker building in New York City. Baker was just beginning his career when he died from complications following a skating accident. In his short time working he completed just over 130 paintings before his death in 1886 at the age of 27.
Bakers work shows a maturity and confidence for someone so young. His vision is fully formed and his statements carry authenticity and reverence for his subjects.
I couldn't find any books on WBB (Information for this bio came from Wikipedia and Quest Royal Galleries and other online sources)
Credit: Historic photo of ‘The Castle’ from John Scherer from an article in the Daily Gazettte by Bill Buel