The Ferris Collection of PrintsArtist Bios
Hippolyte Bellangé (1800–1866) was best known for his paintings and lithographs of contemporary and Napoleonic military subjects, which were popular in France in this period. He trained in the studio of Antoine Jean Gros, a history painter in the style of Jacques-Louis David, where he learned about lithography. Bellangé actively pursued lithography until 1836, when he was appointed curator at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. Thereafter he devoted himself almost entirely to painting military scenes. During his lifetime he produced almost 500 lithographic prints.
Stephen James Ferris (1835–1915) was a portrait painter and founding member of the Philadelphia Society of Etchers. In 1860, John Sartain, a veteran engraver, demonstrated the etching process for Ferris and his future brother-in-law, artist Thomas Moran. Ferris himself later demonstrated the etching process frequently for members of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, which he had joined in 1860. He etched prints after paintings by others and many portraits of his own composition. His print, the Head of Fortuny, an artist he admired, was published in 1875, one of the earliest etchings to be printed and distributed by a publisher in the United States. In addition to portrait painting and etching, Ferris taught for many years at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women.
Léopold Flameng (1831–1911) was born to French parents in Brussels where he trained as an engraver with Luigi Calamatta. He collaborated on several projects with Calamatta, who had a considerable reputation as a reproductive engraver of contemporary French and old master paintings. Flameng went to Paris in 1853 where he learned the technique of etching, and tried unsuccessfully to launch himself as an original etcher. However, he proved himself a versatile copyist, able to reproduce successfully the work of a broad range of painters in both etching and engraving. He made more than 800 plates for many different projects over his lifetime. His prints were widely collected in the United States by New York art dealer Samuel P. Avery among others.
Louise Girard was active in the second quarter of the 19th century, a period in which there were not many women graphic artists working. Not much is known about the artistic career of Girard, who debuted in the Paris Salon of 1824. In addition to her graphic work, she also painted miniatures. Her husband, François Girard, was an engraver of religious and history subjects as well as portraits.
Louis-Pierre Henriquel-Dupont (1797–1892) a French painter and graphic artist known as Henriquel, began his engraving studies at age seventeen after four years in a painter’s studio. Henriquel has been described by one contemporary French print authority as “the most celebrated engraver of the 19th century.” Engraving in this context means primarily reproductive engraving. The great skill with which he interpreted paintings of his contemporaries such as Paul Delaroche and others won Henriquel many important awards in France. He was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1849. He also worked in lithography, aquatint, and etching, and taught for decades at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where artists of many nations came to study the fine arts.
Charles Jacque (1813–1894), painter and graphic artist, was an important figure in the French etching revival of the 1860s. Called a poet of rural life, he was largely self-taught and apprenticed briefly with a map engraver. Alfred Cadart brought Jacque’s etchings with the work of other contemporary French painters and print makers to the United States in 1866. Samuel P. Avery, a noted art dealer and collector, first saw Jacque’s work at this time. He eventually collected almost 400 of Jacque’s etchings, now in the New York Public Library. Jacque’s work was later exhibited in major 19th-century print exhibitions in the United States such as the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876. Jacque’s etchings, seen in these exhibitions or in private collections, were important references for contemporary American etchers like Peter Moran.
Jules Jacquemart (1837–1880), a French watercolorist and etcher, taught himself to etch and evolved a very personal style. His early etchings reproduce objects. He worked directly from the objects, which were etched with almost microscopically fine detail but appear solidly three dimensional. He began to reproduce paintings in earnest at the end of the 1860s. In 1871 Jacquemart, as one of the finest etchers of the day, was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to create a portfolio of etchings to be sold to its members. His work was shown and collected in Europe and the United States but is little known today.
Maxime Lalanne (1827–1886), a founding member of the Société des Aquafortistes (Society of Etchers) started by Alfred Cadart in 1862, was an important figure in the etching revival in France. He published almost 200 etchings, most of which were original, not reproductive. The subjects included city and rural scenes and picturesque sites in Paris, Bordeaux, London, and Switzerland. Alfred Cadart brought the work of a number of French artists, including Lalanne, to the U.S. in 1866. In that year, Lalanne published an important manual on etching, Traité de la Gravure à l’Eau-Fort, later translated into English by Sylvester R. Koehler, the first Graphic Arts Curator at the Smithsonian as A Treatise on Etching. New York art dealer Frederick Keppel remarked in 1910, “Lalanne’s treatise still remains the standard text-book on the making of etchings.” The New York Etching Club exhibited his prints in 1890. He received a medal for his drawings at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876.
Mary Nimmo Moran (1842–1899) is known for her landscape etchings, especially those of eastern Long Island where she summered. Born in Scotland, she immigrated with her brother and father to the United States in 1847, and settled in Pennsylvania. In 1862 she married artist Thomas Moran (1837–1926). Her husband oversaw her early efforts at oil painting and water color and encouraged her to try etching. She etched her first plate of the St. John’s River in Florida from memory in 1879, but later worked directly from subjects outdoors. The quality of her etchings was recognized by her peers. Among the early members of the New York Etching Club, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers in London in 1881. In 1950 the Smithsonian’s Graphic Arts Division presented her only solo show, although her work was widely exhibited with others in her lifetime.
Peter Moran (1841–1914), an animal and genre painter and etcher, came to the United States from England with his family in 1844. One of the younger Morans, he trained with his artist brothers Edward and Thomas after a brief stint with a Philadelphia lithographer in 1857. He specialized in animal subjects, while his brother Edward was known for his marine painting and Thomas for his views of the West. Peter Moran began to etch in 1874, and at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition received medals for his etchings and paintings. French artists of the Barbizon school like Charles Jacque were important models for his scenes of animals. Moran made visits to New Mexico and Arizona in the 1870s and 1880s, and material from these visits inspired some of his prints. He served as president of the Philadelphia Society of Etchers and taught for many years at the Philadelphia School for Design for Women.
Thomas Moran (1837–1926) best known as a landscape painter, especially of the American West, was also active as a graphic artist. In 1853 he apprenticed at a Philadelphia wood engraver’s studio, where he drew designs on blocks. His early graphic work consisted of lithographs and cliché-verre, in which a drawing on a coated glass plate is contact printed on light-sensitive paper. Moran, together with his future brother-in-law Stephen Ferris, watched John Sartain, an engraver, demonstrate the etching process in 1860. In 1878 he seriously took up the etching needle and bought his own etching press. His subject matter ranged from East Hampton, Long Island, where he summered with his wife, artist Mary Nimmo Moran (1843–1899) and their children, to the American West, Mexico, and Europe. He favored impressive views. Like many contemporary European and American artists, he also etched some reproductive prints after his own and others’ paintings. Moran was an early member of the New York Etching Club and in 1881 became a Fellow, together with his wife, of the London Society of Painter-Etchers. He also belonged to the Society of American Etchers. He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1885.
Camille Piton (1844–1918) immigrated to the United States from France and worked in Philadelphia, teaching art, etching, and illustrating magazine articles. Between 1879 and 1892, he contributed some seventy illustrations alone to The Art Amateur. He also opened a school in Philadelphia, where he taught china painting, and wrote a book on the subject. China Painting in America (1878) contains patterns to use for this craft, a popular hobby for women in the late 19th century. Eventually, he returned to France where he wrote about 18th- and 19th-century dress. He died in Marly-le Roi, where he was born.
Paul Adolphe Rajon (1842–1888), painter and graphic artist, began his career as a photographer while studying at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He later studied etching with Léon Gaucherel and Léopold Flameng. Rajon etched some original portraits, but most of his prints reproduced paintings of contemporary artists and old masters for publications such asL’Art and the Gazette des Beaux-Arts. Frederick Keppel, a New York art dealer who had met Rajon in Europe, exhibited his prints together with other French artists at Cincinnati fairs and in Keppel’s own gallery in New York. Rajon visited New York in 1886 to work and then returned in 1887, when he addressed the New York Rembrandt Club in Brooklyn. The Grolier Club of New York exhibited his prints posthumously in 1890. His etchings were collected on both sides of the Atlantic.
Abbé Jean-Claude-Richard de Saint-Non (1727–1771), a patron of the arts and acquaintance of Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau, was an amateur etcher who made his first print in 1753. Although ordained as a priest, Saint-Non chose to pursue his artistic interests. On a visit to Italy, he met Hubert Robert (best known as a landscape painter) and Jean Honoré Fragonard, both of whom made numerous studies for him. On returning to Paris, Saint-Non issued sets of prints that reproduced some of these studies. In 1765, with the help of the graphic artist Delafosse, he invented an aquatint process that reproduced the tonal character of an ink wash drawing. Of the 366 prints Saint-Non made, three-quarters are aquatints.
William Unger (1837–1932), a prolific German graphic artist, made hundreds of reproductive etchings after paintings by old master and contemporary artists. He also etched sculptures. His etchings were widely published in many editions in Europe and the United States. A volume titled The Works of William Unger came out in New York in 1876, and Sylvester R. Koehler included his work in Foreign Etchings (1887). Unger’s prints also were issued in portfolios of loose etchings and appeared in a number of American publications, such as Koehler’s American Art Review. William Unger’s name was familiar to many Americans in the last quarter of the 19th century. In addition to his graphic work, Unger was also was an influential professor of graphic arts at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts (Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien). He received medals for his prints in Paris, Vienna, and Berlin.