Portrait of Mariano Fortuny

This profile portrait of Spanish painter and graphic artist Mariano Fortuny is one of two in the NMAH collection that Stephen Ferris made in 1875, soon after Fortuny’s untimely death at age thirty-six in Rome, Italy, on November 21, 1874.
Gerome Ferris, in a note on the mount, refers to the print as an etching on glass. According to a contemporary, Stephen Ferris “was one of the first artists to practice etching on glass as it was miscalled at the time.” The cliché-verre process, as it known today, originated in France in the nineteenth century. The artist coats a glass plate with an opaque substance and then draws an image on it with a pointed instrument such as an etching needle. He then lays the plate image-side down on a sheet of photosensitized paper and exposes it to light.
This print and a second portrait of Fortuny by Ferris were the only two American etched portraits shown in the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The revival of interest in etching that began in Europe during the 1860s did not really take off in the United States until about 1880, but visitors to the exhibition saw a modest number of American etchings at the beginning of the movement.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
graphic artist
Ferris, Stephen James
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 17 cm x 12.5 cm; 6 11/16 in x 4 15/16 in
sheet: 21.5 cm x 14 cm; 8 7/16 in x 5 1/2 in
Place Made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
catalog number
accession 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

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