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John Vanderlyn Portrait

John Vanderlyn

Born:
Kingston, New York 1775

Died:
Kingston, New York 1852

Active in:

  • Paris, France

Photo Caption:
Senate House State Historic Site, Kingston, NY New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation

Luce Artist Biography

John Vanderlyn began drawing as a young child and at age sixteen went to New York to work for an art supplies store. He met the artist Gilbert Stuart, who gave the young apprentice permission to copy two of his paintings. Vanderlyn spent many years in Europe, exhibiting his works and winning several prizes. Back in America, however, there was little interest in the history paintings that Vanderlyn wanted to create, and he found it difficult to get commissions. He grew depressed and, by the early 1820s, was so discontented that he was advised to “imbibe daily a reasonable quantity of strong beer.” (Lindsay, The Works of John Vanderlyn, 1970; Schoonmaker, John Vanderlyn, Artist, 1775-1852; A Biography, 1950)