Portrait of Jean-Léon Gérôme

Stephen Ferris etched a dapper J. L. Gérôme (1824–1904) in 1899, near the end of Gérôme’s very successful career as painter and sculptor. Ferris had admired the French artist’s work for many years, at least since 1863 when he named his son after him. Although Ferris never actually met Gérôme, the two artists had corresponded. For this print Ferris used a photograph he had received from Gérôme. He then sent Gérôme trial proofs for comments and requested a signature to include in the final impressions, which appears here at lower left.
Gérôme congratulated Ferris on the portrait as “work done with great care and great talent—the effect is very good and very firm. If I had any criticism to make, I would reserve it for the background, which is a little too even, and for the clothing, which has a little softness in the execution.” Gérôme also suggested that the highlight on the order which appears on his left breast and is not particularly noticeable in the photograph, be less bright. The order remains brightly lit, possibly Ferris’s tribute to Gérôme.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
date made
graphic artist
Ferris, Stephen James
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 34 cm x 21 cm; 13 3/8 in x 8 1/4 in
sheet: 40.5 cm x 28 cm; 15 15/16 in x 11 in
Place Made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Ferris Collection
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Ferris Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Ferris Collection

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