Antrobus, John – American Artist

John Antrobus (1837 to 1907)

John Antrobus, born in Warwickshire, England, immigrated to the United States in 1850 and settled in Philadelphia. Within three years he had relocated to Savannah, Georgia, and then he moved to Montgomery, Alabama. During this time he also traveled throughout the American West and Mexico.

By 1860, he had opened a studio in New Orleans. There he planned a series of 12 large paintings of plantation life. He completed two, a slave funeral and a Bayou Macon plantation scene, while residing in Carroll Parish. The Civil War interrupted his work and he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Delhi Southrons, but he left the army and moved to Chicago in 1862. He then moved to Washington, DC, and then to Detroit, where he remained the rest of his life.

He became one of the leading figures in the city’s art community, was the first to paint Ulysses S. Grant, and he designed the Grant medal authorized by Congress in 1863. During his life, he exhibited at the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans (1860), Michigan State Fair (1878), and the Detroit Loan Exhibition (1883). His work is in such collections as the Smithsonian, the Historic New Orleans Collections, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Detroit History Museum.

Information courtesy of New Orleans Auction

The British-born painter John Antrobus arrived in America in 1850 and spent the next decade working and living in the South. First settling in Savannah, Georgia, then Montgomery, Alabama, by 1859 he had opened a studio in New Orleans. While in Louisiana, he had ambitious plans to create a twelve painting series depicting southern culture and life. Perhaps the advent of the Civil War curtailed his plans, because Antrobus only completed two of the planned paintings. The emotionally riveting “A Plantation Burial” is part of The Historic New Orleans Collection. In 1861 he joined the Confederate forces and served with the Delhi Southrons. After the war, he moved to Chicago.

Information courtesy of Neal Auction Company, May 2008.

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