Elihu Vedder USA
2-26-1836 New York, USA - 1-29-1923 Rome, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Elihu Vedder was the son of Dr. Elihu Vedder Sr. and Elizabeth Vedder. His parents were cousins. His father, a dentist, decided to try his luck in Cuba, and this had a profound impact on Elihu Jr.'s childhood. The remainder of his childhood was spent between his maternal grandfather Alexander Vedder's house in Schenectady and a boarding school. His mother supported his goals to be an artist while his father reluctantly assented, convinced that his son should try a different occupation.
Elihu Vedder trained in New York City with Tompkins H. Matteson, then in Paris with François-Édouard Picot. Finally, he completed his studies in Italy – where he was strongly influenced not only by Italian Renaissance work but also by the modern Macchiaioli painters and the living Italian landscape. Their idyllic trips through the Italian countryside were cut short because Vedder's father cut off his financial allowance.
Elihu Vedder returned to the USA, penniless, during the American Civil War, and made a small living by undertaking commercial illustrations. He was involved in the bohemian 'Pfaff's' coffee house group, and painted some of his most memorable paintings notable for their visionary nature, romantic imagery and often Oriental influences. Paintings of this time include 'The Roc's Egg', 'The Fisherman and the Genii' and one of his most famous works, 'Lair of the Sea Serpent.'
At the end of the Civil War, he left America to live in Italy. Elihu had a home in Rome and - after the financial success of his 1884 Rubaiyat work - on the Isle of Capri, then a haven for male aesthetes.
Vedder visited England many times, and was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, and was a friend of Simeon Solomon. He was also influenced by the work of English and Irish mystics such as William Blake and William Butler Yeats. In 1890 Vedder helped establish the In Arte Libertas group in Italy.
Tiffany commissioned Elihu Vedder to design glassware, mosaics and statuettes for the company. He decorated the hallway of the Reading Room of the Washington Library of Congress, and his mural paintings can still be seen there.
Art Movement: Symbolism Art, Pre-Raphaelites
Influences: Tompkins H. Matteson, François-Édouard Picot
Traveled: Italy, France, Cuba, England