John La Farge USA

3-31-1835 New York, USA - 11-14-1910 Providence, USA

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La Farge, John

John La Farge interest in art began during his studies at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland and St. John's College now Fordham University in New York. He initially intended to study law, but this changed after his first visit to Paris, France in 1856. Stimulated by the arts in the city, he studied with Thomas Couture and became acquainted with notable literary people. La Farge also studied with the painter William Morris Hunt in Newport, Rhode Island.

La Farge's earliest drawings and landscapes, from his studies in Newport, show marked originality, especially in the handling of color values. Many of John La Farge's mythological and religious paintings, including Virgil, were executed in an area of Rhode Island known as "Paradise," in a forest which La Farge called "The Sacred Grove" after Virgil.

He was a pioneer in the study of Japanese art, the influence of which is seen in his work. During his life, La Farge maintained a studio at 51 West 10th Street in Greenwich Village, which now is part of the site of Eugene Lang College at the New School University.

In the 1870s, John La Farge began to do murals, which became popular for public buildings as well as churches. His first mural was done in Trinity Church, Boston, in 1873. Then followed his decorations in the Church of the Ascension (the large altarpiece) and St. Paul's Chapel, New York. For the Minnesota State Capitol at St. Paul, he executed at age 71 four great lunettes representing the history of law.

John La Farge made extensive travels in Asia and the South Pacific, which inspired his painting. He visited Japan in 1886, and the South Seas in 1890 and 1891, in particular spending time and absorbing the culture of Tahiti.

In 1892, John La Farge was brought on as an instructor with the Metropolitan Museum of Art Schools to provide vocational training to students in New York City.

He learned several languages (ancient and modern), and was erudite in literature and art; by his cultured personality and reflective conversation, he influenced many other people.

Margaret's father was Christopher Grant Perry, the son of Elizabeth Champlin Mason and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. He was a descendant of Gov. Thomas Prence (1599 – March 29, 1673), a co-founder of Eastham, Massachusetts, a political leader in both the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, and governor of Plymouth (1634, 1638, and 1657–1673); and of Elder William Brewster (c. 1567 – April 10, 1644), the Pilgrim leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony, who had been a passenger on the Mayflower.

Art Movement: Naturalism
Influences: Thomas Couture, William Morris Hunt
Traveled: France, Japan, Tahiti, Samoa, Ceylon
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