Building a National Collection


Old Masters
in the
New World

Two Early Collectors

Pictures at the Exhibitions

The Artist as Collector

The Schoff Collection

The Ferris Collection

The Sloan Collection


The Curator as Collector

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Building a National Collection
150 Years of Print Collecting at the Smithsonian

The Ferris Collection

Cornelis Visscher
Leonora de Sieveri

Rembrandt van Rijn
Three heads of women,
one asleep

Jean-Léon Gérôme
A Negress of Hedjah
Jean Baptiste Camille Corot
Souvenir of Italy
Mariano Fortuny
Thomas Moran
An Apple Orchard,

Stephen James Ferris (1835-1915), a Philadelphia portrait painter and etcher, collected over two thousand European and American prints. They were given to the Smithsonian by the family of his son, artist J. L. G. Ferris, between 1927 and 1932. Stephen Ferris especially admired the work of painters Jean-Léon Gérôme (for whom his son was named) and Mariano Fortuny and acquired their prints. His collection includes many 19th-century French and American etchings. Among the hundreds of original and reproductive prints dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries are works by Flameng, Houbraken, Jacquemart, and Rembrandt. Reflecting Ferris's interest in portraiture, the collection, like those of Cranch and Schoff, is strongest in figure studies and portrait subjects. Stephen Ferris married Elizabeth Moran, the sister of artists Edward, John, Peter, and Thomas Moran, and the Ferris collection includes works by Moran family members in addition to the etched work of both Ferrises, father and son.

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