Original antique watercolor painting of Adam and Eve cast from Paradise by Joseph Boggs Beale. Original artwork for his magic lantern work. Acquired from the Artist original estate collection. Presented matted and framed.
Famed magic lantern slide artist Joseph Boggs Beale was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 10, 1841. He was the eldest child of Louise Boggs McCord (1815-1887) and Dr. Steven Thomas Beale (1814-1899), a prominent dentist and founder of the Pennsylvania Association of Dental Surgeons. Beale demonstrated an aptitude for drawing while attending the prestigious Philadelphia's Central High School and later the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1862, the twenty-year-old Beale returned to Central High School as a professor of writing and drawing, winning the position over realist painter Thomas Eakins.
During the Civil War, Beale served with the Company D, 2nd Regiment, Blue Reserves of Philadelphia. He was quickly appointed to regimental artist and created battle sketches for various publications. After the war, he became an illustrator for numerous magazines including, Harper's, Frank Leslie's Weekly, and the Daily Graphic. Beale lived in Chicago for several years with his wife, Mary Louise Taffart, before returning to Philadelphia in the early 1870s. Much of the artist's work was lost in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
After Beale's return to Philadelphia, the prosperous glass slide dealer Caspar W. Briggs & Sons hired the talented illustrator to produce original slide designs for early projectors, known as magic lanterns. Illustrated glass slides were placed inside these machines and the image was projected onto a screen as a form of entertainment. Beale created 1,804 black and white paintings during his time at Caspar W. Briggs & Sons. The artist used a range of dark paints on charcoal gray paper, highlighted with Chinese opaque watercolors. The result, luminous and detailed illustrations with dramatic color contrast. Many of Beale's paintings chronicle American history from Native American folklore, colonization, the federal period, Civil War, to Victorian life. His illustrations also capture, Biblical and popular narrative stories.
By the time of his death on February 26, 1926, Beale had become renowned for his realistic magic lantern paintings. Several years after the artist's death, a large quantity of his work was discovered in the home of a glass slide producer from Germantown, Pennsylvania. Since then, Beale's paintings have been dispersed into public and private collections.