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Kenyon Cox Portrait

Kenyon Cox Portrait Kenyon Cox Portrait

Kenyon Cox

Warren, Ohio 1856

New York, New York 1919

Active in:

  • Windsor, Vermont

Photo Caption:
Kenyon Cox, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001409

Photo Caption:
William A. Coffin, Kenyon Cox, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Allyn Cox 1983.31.3.

Photo Caption:
Augustus Saint Gaudens, Kenyon Cox, 1889, bronze, Smithsonian American Art Museum,Bequest of Allyn Cox 1983.31.1.

Luce Artist Quote

“. . . art is not a luxury, it is a civilization.” Kenyon Cox, The Nation, 1889, quoted in Morgan, Kenyon Cox, 1856-1919: A Life in American Art, 1994


Born in Ohio, studied in Paris, lived mostly in New York City. Painter who wrote extensively about art. His sensuous female nudes were beautifully rendered but were somewhat shocking to the public of his day; later he found wider acceptance as a creator of allegorical murals.

Charles Sullivan, ed American Beauties: Women in Art and Literature (New York: Henry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with National Museum of American Art, 1993)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Kenyon Cox was born into a prominent midwestern family of theologians, lawyers, and politicians. Despite poor health and his mother’s concerns for his welfare, Cox took art courses, hoping one day to combine his artistic talent with his family’s commitment to social service. He studied in Paris from 1877 until 1882, when he moved to New York to work as an illustrator and art critic. Within ten years Cox was accepting mural commissions for such prestigious institutions as the Library of Congress and the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. These projects helped realize his hopes that art could serve an educational purpose. (Morgan, Kenyon Cox, 1856-1919: A Life in American Art, 1994)