La Farge, John

La Farge, John

(lə färzh), 1835–1910, American artist and writer, b. New York City. He studied with William Morris HuntHunt, William Morris,
1824–79, American painter, b. Brattleboro, Vt., studied in Düsseldorf and Paris. He was greatly influenced by the Barbizon school and by J. F. Millet.
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 in Newport, R.I., and with Thomas CoutureCouture, Thomas
, 1815–79, French academic painter. He was a pupil of Gros and Delaroche. He achieved fame with his vast orgy painting, Romans in the Decadence of the Empire (1847; Louvre).
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 in Paris. La Farge began his career as a painter of landscapes and figure compositions. Commissioned (1876) to decorate Trinity Church, Boston, he thereafter engaged primarily in mural painting and the manufacture and design of stained glass.

His murals in Trinity Church and the Church of the Ascension, New York City, set a standard for the art unsurpassed in the United States. He also painted notable murals in various courtrooms and state capitals. A lifelong Roman Catholic, he did much of his best work for churches. His splendid windows may be seen in the churches of Buffalo, N.Y., and Worcester, Mass., in the chapels of Harvard and Columbia, and in Gilded Age mansions. La Farge's watercolors and drawings are also well known, particularly those commemorating his visit to the South Seas in 1890–91, and his easel paintings are in many leading American museums.

An eclectic artist and a man of the widest culture, friend of Henry AdamsAdams, Henry,
1838–1918, American writer and historian, b. Boston; son of Charles Francis Adams (1807–86). He was secretary (1861–68) to his father, then U.S. minister to Great Britain.
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 and Henry JamesJames, Henry,
1843–1916, American novelist and critic, b. New York City. A master of the psychological novel, James was an innovator in technique and one of the most distinctive prose stylists in English.

He was the son of Henry James, Sr.
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, La Farge did much to create a sound tradition of the fine arts in the United States. His writings and lectures on art are distinguished for their urbanity and judgment. Among them are Considerations on Painting (1895), An Artist's Letters from Japan (1897), The Higher Life in Art (1908), and Reminiscences of the South Seas (1912).


See study by R. Cortissoz (1911, repr. 1971).

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La Farge, John

(1835–1910) painter, multi-media artist; born in New York City. After study with Couture in Paris (1856), and William Morris Hunt in Newport, R.I. (1859), he maintained a studio in New York City. He worked as a sculptor, muralist, oil and water color painter, and stained glass designer. He decorated many churches, notably Trinity Church, Boston (1876), and among other accomplishments, invented opaline glass, an iridescent form of milk glass. His most famous painting, Manua Our Boatman (1891), produced after a trip to the South Seas with Henry Adams (1890), is a striking and original work.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Overall, the exhibit provides fresh insight into the relationship between James and American painting as it surveys the impact of figures like John La Farge, John Singer Sargent, Hendrik Andersen, and the Bootts-Duvenecks.
It offers a fresh perspective on the master novelist and the significance of his friendships with American artists John La Farge, John Singer Sargent, and James McNeill Whistler, as well as Gardner, an esteemed arts patron.
La Farge, John (1835-1910), The Fish, New York, New York, about 1890.