George Inness


Armnad Cabrera

George Inness was born in 1825 on a farm just outside of Newburgh New York on the Hudson River. His father was a successful grocer and just after Inness was born the family moved to New York city and then again four years later to Newark New Jersey. It was here Inness received his education and discovered his interest in art.

In 1839 at the age of 15 his father bought him a grocery store to manage but Inness had decided to pursue painting and his father reluctantly paid for art lessons. His first teacher was John Jesse Barker. Inness then studied engraving for two years in New York City. He studied painting for a year with French Artist Regis Francois Gignaux and attended classes at the National Academy of Design.

In 1849 Inness opened his own studio in New York. He also married Delia Miller who died just a few months after the wedding. He remarried Elizabeth Abigail Hart a year later and the couple would have 6 children together.

In 1851 a patron sent Inness to Europe for fifteen months. He rented a studio in Rome and studied the old masters and painted. It was probably here he became interested in to the philosophy of  Swedenborgianism which held all things in nature had a spiritual relationship with God and that an artist’s perspective is influenced by this experience.

His work became more ethereal in his later years using his memory and painting with a softer more emotional intent. His later work transcends the natural world touching on the poetic and sublime.

He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1853 and became a full Academician in 1868.

Inness had a retrospective show of his work in 1884 and he won a gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exposition. George Innis died in 1894 in Scotland after watching a sunset.


Inness landscapes

Alfred Werner

Watson Guptill Publications 1973

Quote: The true purpose of the painter is simply to reproduce in other minds the impression which a scene has made upon him. A work of art is not to instruct, not to edify, but to awaken an emotion. Its real greatness consists in the quality and force of this emotion.

Vasily Vereshchagin

By Armand Cabrera

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.


The Orientalists

Lynn Thornton

ACR Editions

Some Call It Kitsch

Masterpieces of Bourgeois Realism

Aleska Celebonovic


Popular 19thCentury Painting

A Dictionary of European Genre Painters

Philip Hook and Mark Poltimore

Antique Collectors Club

Martin Rico y Ortega

Armand Cabrera

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

Javier Baron

Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University (2013)

John Atkinson Grimshaw


Armand Cabrera

John Atkinson Grimshaw was born in Leeds in 1836. His father worked for the Great Northern Railway and secured a job for his son as a clerk when John was 16 1852.  Grimshaw was interested in art but his parents did not support his choice to become an artist.  His parents were strict Baptists and discouraged the boy from art. His mother went as far as destroying his paints. In 1856 he married his cousin Frances Hubbard and the couple had several children together.

Grimshaw quit his job as a railroad clerk in 1861 to paint full time; he sold his work in Leeds in galleries and book shops gaining a following with collectors there. His early work was mostly highly detailed landscape and still life paintings and a few portraits. His success grew in the 1870’s and he was able to rent a second home in Scarborough overlooking the ocean. He dropped the John from his signature and began signing his work as Atkinson Grimshaw. His success pushed him to expand his subject matter and he painted society women, historical subjects, fairy paintings and moonlight scenes.

Today Grimshaw is remembered for his nocturnes and a few iconic images of fairies. The nocturnes range from moonlit seascapes to city scenes at twilight all painted with an exquisite sense of light and mood. Financially successful, Grimshaw had little time to paint for exhibitions. He was painting private commissions for art patrons most of his life.

In 1893 John Atkinson Grimshaw died of cancer at the age of 57. Four of his children, Arthur, Louis, Wilfred and Elaine were also painters and continued his artistic legacy.


Atkinson Grimshaw

Alexander Robertson

Phaidon Press Ltd. 1988

Popular 19th century painting

A dictionary of European Genre painters

Phillip Hook and Mark Poltimore

Antique Collectors Club press 1986

William Bliss Baker


Armand Cabrera

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.

                                                                             The Castle
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