John Ritto Penniman (1782 to 1841)

John Ritto Penniman (1782 to 1841)

Born in Boston, John Ritto Penniman came from a talented family—his father was a physician and entrepreneur, and his ten siblings include booksellers, an artist and inventor, and a teacher. Penniman trained as an ornamental painter in Roxbury, Massachusetts, which was, at the time, a community of artisans, including clock and furniture makers. Some of his early work was as a dial painter for noted clockmakers Aaron and [...] Click here to continue reading.


The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

Derived from the Greek sarx, meaning flesh, and phagein, meaning eat, a sarcophagus is, essentially, a container for a body, much like a coffin or casket. Historically, sarcophagi were typically made of stone (though sometimes of other materials, such as wood or metal), with a relief-carved or pediment top, and designed to be above ground, and have been used by many cultures since ancient times.

An ancient [...] Click here to continue reading.


Chief Sitting Bull – Sioux – Tatanka-Iyotanka

Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief (circa 1831 to 1890)

Sitting Bull, the man who would later become the Hunkpapa Sioux chief, was born in South Dakota, near the Grand River. His Lakota name was Tatanka-Iyotanka. In his thirties, he began to build his reputation as a warrior, leading war parties in Red Cloud’s War against a number of Dakota Territory forts. Although the U.S. negotiated with the Sioux in order to end the war and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Gouache – Definition

Gouache vs. Watercolor

Gouache (sometimes referred to as body color and pronounced “gwash”) and watercolor paintings are often not clearly distinguished as being different, perhaps because making the distinction just based on a visual examination can be difficult, perhaps because both techniques are often used in the same work, but they are different in fundamental ways. Watercolors have pigment, a binding agent, any additives an artist might use to manipulate durability and texture, and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Russell, Charles Marion

Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926)

Charles Russell was as famous for his personal character as he was for his artistic career. A simple and modest man, he left the Midwest to pursue a life on the frontier. While residing primarily in Montana for the remainder of his life, Russell, or “Cowboy Charlie”, went on to become the state’s favorite son and achieve great renown for his depictions of the American West.

An [...] Click here to continue reading.


Wood, Grant – American Artist

Grant Wood (1891 to 1942)

Grant DeVolson Wood was born February 13, 1891 in Anamosa, Iowa. When he was ten, his father died, prompting the family to relocate to Cedar Rapids, where he eventually found work in a metal-working shop. Finishing high school at Washington High School, he entered art school in Minneapolis in 1910. After a year in Minneapolis, he returned to Iowa and taught at a one-room school. In 1913, he returned [...] Click here to continue reading.


Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola

Dr. John Stith Pemberton (1831 to 1888), an Atlanta pharmacist, invented Coca-Cola in 1886. A year earlier, he had introduced an alcoholic beverage called “Pemberton’s French wine coca”, but the temperance movement was then gathering momentum in the United States, prompting him to develop an alcohol-free product. Pemberton mixed a combination of lime, cinnamon, coca leaves, and kola nuts to make the famous beverage. When Coca-Cola was first introduced, the syrup was mixed [...] Click here to continue reading.


Moses, Grandma (Anna Mary Robertson) – American Folk Artist

photograph of Grandma Moses, photograph by Rudolph Rissland (p4A item E8981620) Anna Mary Robertson Moses ‘Grandma Moses’ (1860-1961)

Anna Mary Robertson, more commonly known as Grandma Moses, was born in 1860 in Greenwich, New York. She grew up in a large family, where the girls were taught how to perform a variety of domestic tasks. After she married Thomas Salmon Moses, Grandma Moses spent nearly 20 years raising her children on their farm. [...] Click here to continue reading.


Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler Hickock)

James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok

Unlike the Hollywood nice guy from 1950′s television, the real Wild Bill Hickok was a born killer and compulsive gambler.

Between his birth as James Butler Hickok in 1837 and his 1876 death, Hickok defined the fiercely independent Wild West peacekeeper that never stayed long in one place. Raised to anti-slavery parents in Illinois, Hickok developed a strong sense of loyalty and duty that lasted his entire life. [...] Click here to continue reading.


Panoramic – Definition

Panoramic Views

Accurately rendering a panoramic view has long challenged, obsessed and inspired artists. The trend seems to have sprung up in the 17th century, with works that served both as slightly more helpful, more detailed maps with various public or important buildings marked, but also as advertisements for towns and cities. Matthaeus Merian, a Swiss engraver who spent most of his career in Frankfurt, where he also ran a publishing house passed to [...] Click here to continue reading.


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