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Joseph Wood

Born:
Clarkstown, New York 1778

Died:
Washington, District of Columbia 1830

Biography

Born about 1778 near Clarkstown, N.Y. In New York, about 1793–1813. Apprenticed to a silversmith, 1793. Became a miniature painter, 1801. Studied with Edward G. Malbone. Formed a partnership with John Wesley Jarvis, 1802–10. In Philadelphia, 1813–16. Lived in Washington, D.C., 1816–30. Did drawings of models for the Patent Office. Ran an art school. Painted portraits of many distinguished people. Died June 15, 1830, in Washington, D.C.

Andrew J. Cosentino and Henry H. Glassie The Capital Image: Painters in Washington, 1800–1915 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1983)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Joseph Wood knew he did not want to become a farmer like his father, and left home at the age of fifteen to pursue a career as an artist in New York. Walking along the streets of the city, Wood was drawn to the miniature paintings he saw in the window of a silversmith’s shop and quickly asked to become an apprentice. Wood’s first works were copies from portraits he found in the shop, and his career was shaped by his instruction from Edward Greene Malbone, and his partnership with John Wesley Jarvis. After parting ways with Jarvis, Wood moved to Philadelphia, where he created his strongest works. By 1816, however, his career had begun to decline---perhaps as a result of a drinking habit he picked up from his partner---and by 1829 he was forced to advertise himself as a “draftsman for patent applications.”