Otis, Bass

Otis, Bass,

1784–1861, American portrait painter and mezzotint engraver, b. Bridgewater, Mass. He probably produced the first lithograph in America, a portrait of the Rev. Abner Kneeland, in a volume of his lectures (1818). Otis practiced portrait painting in New York City and Philadelphia, reproducing some of his works in mezzotint. Among his best-known likenesses are those of Thomas Jefferson, Stephen Girard, and James Madison. His only known genre composition, Interior of a Smithy, is in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
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Otis, Bass

(1784–1861) painter, lithographer; born in Bridgewater, Mass. He began as a scythemaker, became a portrait painter in New York City (1808), and from 1812, lived in Philadelphia. Considered the first American lithographer, he published a portrait of Reverend Abner Kneeland in a volume of lectures (1818). He also painted portraits of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.