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William Sartain Portrait

William Sartain

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1843

New York, New York 1924

Photo Caption:
Photograph taken by George Gardner Rockwood. Image is courtesy of the Augustus F. de Forest papers, 1852-1946 in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Biography

William Sartain apprenticed to his brother as an engraver, but decided he wanted to be a painter and traveled to Paris to study. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870s forced him to leave France, and he spent eighteen months traveling around Europe studying “tens of thousands of pictures.” Back in America, Sartain established a studio in New York, traveling to Philadelphia every two weeks to teach a drawing and painting class. This informal class, taught outside the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, inspired many young artists who would later become famous. (Tappert, “William Sartain and Cecilia Beaux: The Influences of a Teacher,” in Martinez and Talbott, Philadelphia’s Cultural Landscape, The Sartain Family Legacy, 2000)