John Vanderlyn

born Kingston, NY 1775-died Kingston, NY 1852
Media - portrait_image_113477.jpg - 90270
Senate House State Historic Site, Kingston, NY New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Kingston, New York, United States
Kingston, New York, United States
Active in
  • Paris, France

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)