Known for decorative oil landscapes, John Macpherson was a native of Philadelphia and a student of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was a long-time exhibitor in eastern exhibitions. He married Beatrice Edgerly, artist and writer, and they built studios in Pennsylvania and Mystic, Connecticut, and helped organize the Mystic Art Association. In 1937, he opened a studio in Tucson, Arizona and later helped organize the Southern Arizona School of Art. A member of the Naval Hospital Corps during World War II, he also originated and directed the art school for patients at the Naval Hospital at Pearl Harbor. Macpherson died in 1982 in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Chinese porcelain decorated with European subject matter and made for export to the West during the Qing dynasty in the reign of Qianlong (1736–96). The sources for the decoration were mainly European engravings brought to China by Jesuit missionaries. The most commonly used illustrations were of Christian subjects such as the Crucifixion, though mythological subjects were also used. A fine example of Export porcelain would make a nice addition to any collection.
A popular landscape painter, especially of golden toned landscapes that conveyed fall and winter seasons, Bruce Crane was strongly influenced by the French Barbizon school of painting and had a studio for many years in Old Lyme, Connecticut. He also painted on Long Island, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks. In 1882, he was in France at the colony at Grez-sur-Loring with Birge Harrison, Kenyon Cox, and Alexander Wyant, but he maintained a studio in New York City until he moved to Bronxville in 1914. He took early art lessons from Alexander Wyant in New York City and then studied in Europe. He became a member of the National Academy of Design, the American Water Color Society, the Salmagundi Club, the Society of American Artists, and the Grand Central Art Galleries. One of his great admirers was J. Francis Murphy with whom his work has often been compared. Source: David Michael Zellman, "Three Hundred Years of American Art" Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
Biography courteously of Edan Hughes
SIMONPIETRI, Alfred H. (1916-2001). Painter. Born in Puerto Rico on June 20, 1916. While serving in the Army during World War Two, Simonpietri was in a plane crash. After the war he settled into a home in the Sunset District of San Francisco where he remained until his demise on December 2, 2001. A talented amateur, he created hundreds of paintings, mostly nudes and still lifes.
Born in a log cabin in Canon City, Colorado, Robert Amick became an illustrator of Western subjects, painter, printmaker, commercial artist and teacher. He grew up in the Colorado cattle country during the 1880s amidst cowboys, Ute and Sioux Indians, homesteaders, and prospectors-"all the characters on the western stage " (Samuels). Amick earned a law degree from Yale University while also taking art courses. After practicing law for two years in Ohio, he became a full-time artist, taking private lessons and studying at the Art Students League. He did illustrations for "Harpers," "Scribner's," "The American," and other publications but was most comfortable with subjects from the life of his background. His western scenes of brilliantly colored landscapes with horses and riders became quite popular, and twelve of them were reproduced as prints for the public schools. He spent much of his career living near New York City in Greenwich, Connecticut where he was, according to a family member, the founder of the Art Society of Greenwich in 1927. Given the circumstances of his background, it is likely he was in Arizona before 1940, but that is not proven.
Born in New York City, Ralph Blakelock earned a reputation for nocturnal, misty scenes, especially moonlit landscapes, large oak trees, and Indian encampments. He also did a small number of floral still lifes. His work has a mysterious quality, which some associated with the type of music he habitually played on the piano during interludes from his painting. Towards the end of his career, his paintings became increasingly haunting, a reflection of his insanity brought on by horrible poverty and his inability to support his family of nine children. He was both a late exponent of the Hudson River School of painting and also of the American West. He also foreshadowed the romantic, visionary, and modern tendencies that marked the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. This romanticism, especially of escapism, was increasingly pronounced towards the end of his career. Blakelock was the son of a prominent English-born, New York physician, and first took medical studies, but his love of music and art led him away from medicine. He graduated from the College of the City of New York, studied briefly at Cooper Union, and at the Free Academy of the City of New York. In 1867, he first exhibited at the National Academy of Design to which he was ultimately elected, after he was incarcerated for insanity. During this time, he painted a series of New York City scenes, primarily of un-glamorous areas such as his work, Shanties, New York City. He also painted in Hudson River Style and was in locations that included the Adirondacks and the White Mountain. It is thought he learned this style during his brief and only art education at Cooper Union. Primarily self taught, he declined his father's offer to pay for more extensive art schooling, and instead, at age 22, embarked on a three-year (1869-1972) horseback tour of the West. He lived with plains Indians, painting pictures of their villages, and traveled and painted through the Rockies and the Sierra Nevadas. In San Francisco and Oakland, he painted city scenes, the tree landscapes, and coastal views, and then he headed south to Mexico. These western paintings were also in the Hudson River style, although they were rough and more painterly. Returning to New York, he developed what became his signature expression: quiet, moody, nocturnal scenes accented with bright colors depicting light, and trees silhouetted against the sky. He had a labor-intensive technique, which was building up of multi layers of thick paint, scraping some away, and "adding more to build a complex tonality". (Zellman 420) It is said that his real travels were introspective from which he created these moody, dark landscapes, and they did not satisfy the current public taste for uplifting Hudson River style painting. Ahead of popular taste, his work was overlooked, and crooked dealers took advantage of him. With the desperation of trying to support his huge family, he sold his work cheaply. Ironically, many years after his death, his work became so valuable that forgers, including a dealer who changed the signature on canvases of Blakelock's artist daughter, Marian, to that of her father, sold paintings at very high prices by using his signature. Norman Geske, Director Emeritus of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, became the authenticator of Blakelock's work, and has seen many, many illegitimate so-called Blakelocks. Under Geske's direction, a catalogue raisonne has been published that classifies paintings with Blakelock's signature into three categories according to their degree of perceived authenticity. In 1899, the artist had a mental breakdown and spent the last twenty years of his life in an asylum in Middleton, New York. He died on August 9, 1919. However, his work had already begun increasing in value, and by 1916 was bringing as high as $20,000. Of Blakelock's career, Norman Geske wrote: "Considered in the context of American landscape painting in the second half of the nineteenth century, Ralph Albert Blakelock can be seen first as a late exponent of the Hudson River School, second as a highly personal contributor to the painting of the American West, and third and most important, as part of the romantic, visionary, and modern tendencies that marked the turn of the century."(16)