Abbott Handerson Thayer Biography | Oil Paintings.

8-12-1849 Boston, MA USA - 5-29-1921 Dublin, New Hampshire USA

Thayer, Abbott Handerson

When Abbott Handerson Thayer was fifteen, he was sent to the Chauncy Hall School to learn art, there he met an amateur artist who painted birds and other wildlife, Henry D. Morse, who guided Abbott in improved his painting skills, and Thayer soon began painting animal portraits on commission, and he taught his sister, Ellen Thayer Fisher, who would also become an artist.

At the age of eighteen, he moved to New York, to study painting at the Brooklyn Art School and the National Academy of Design under Lemuel Wilmarth. During this period in New York, he met many emerging artists, including his future wife, Kate Bloede, and became a close friend of the sculptor, Daniel Chester French. In 1875, at the age of twenty-six, having married Kate Bloede, he moved to Paris for further study at the École des Beaux-Arts, with Henri Lehmann and Jean-Léon Gérôme for four years. There he met his closest friend the American artist George de Forest Brush. Returning to New York in 1879, Abbott Handerson Thayer became active in the Society of American Painters, opened up his portrait studio, and began to take students.

During the 1880's. life was miserable for the Thayers, two of their five small children died one year apart unexpectedly, and after her father died, Thayer's wife had to be confined in an asylum, her health declined and she died. Soon after, Thayer married their long-time friend, Emma Buckingham Beach, whose father owned the newspaper The New York Sun. He and his second wife spent their remaining years in rural New Hampshire, living simply and working productively, settling permanently in Dublin, New Hampshire, where Thayer had grown up, and now was a thriving artists colony. His school friend George de Forest Brush also moved to the town, and the two were close.

Thayer grew more eccentric and opinionated as he aged, the Thayers slept outdoors year-round to enjoy the benefits of fresh air, and the three remaining children were homeschooled, and two of them also became painters.

Abbott Handerson Thayer the Father of Military Camouflage.

Abbott Handerson Thayer is sometimes referred to as the "father of camouflage". He did not invent camouflage, but he was one of the first to write about breaking up an object's shape by disruptive patterning, masquerading, and countershading, to visually hide an object.

As early as 1898 during the Spanish– American War, Brush, and Thayer worked together on devising ways to use natural camouflage principles for military purposes on naval ships, and beginning in 1892, he wrote about the function of countershading in nature, by which forms appear less round and less solid through inverted shading, for example, the white undersides of animals, this finding is still accepted widely and is sometimes now called Thayer’s Law.

Abbott Handerson Thayer and Brush’s experiments with camouflage continued into World War I, both cooperatively and independently. Early during that war, Brush developed a transparent airplane, while Thayer continued his interest in high-difference camouflage called "razzle-dazzle". The British ship camouflage designer Norman Wilkinson called it dazzle camouflage, a term inspired by Thayer's writings.

Artists Influencing Abbott Handerson Thayer: Lemuel Wilmarth, Henri Lehmann, Jean-Léon Gérôme.
He Traveled To France, England.
Painters Abbott Handerson Thayer Influenced: Rockwell Kent, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Barry Faulkner, Dennis Miller Bunker, Ellen Thayer Fisher.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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