This series introduces artists associated with certain states; this one features the state of Rhode Island.
b. 1835 d. 1910
John LaFarge was born in New York City, the son of prosperous French emigres; his father was a refugee from the ill-fated Napoleonic expedition to San Domingo. LaFarge began drawing early, had intermittent instruction, and graduated from the Roman Catholic Mount St. Mary’s College in Maryland.
He studied law and received a Master’s degree in 1855. The legal profession did not appeal to him, however, and for a twenty-first birthday present, he began his art training with a year in Europe, where he entered the atelier of Thomas Couture. Returning to the United States, he went to Newport to study with William Morris Hunt.
John La Farge reinvented the art of stained glass. In the mid-1870s, he began to experiment with stained glass, innovating in the use of opalescent glass. He was awarded patents for his new methods in 1880 and 1883, despite challenges from his rival, Louis Comfort Tiffany. At the International Exposition in Paris in 1889, he was awarded a first-class medal and the ribbon of the Legion of Honor. The jury citation lauded him as: “…the great innovator, the inventor of opaline glass.
His first stained glass window for Trinity Church was installed in 1883, depicting Christ in Majesty on the west façade. This window was the model for the window of Christ Preaching (1889) at Boston College.
b. 1811 d, 1988
American portrait painter based in Providence, Rhode Island. He has been called the "father of Rhode Island art" and the "father of art in Providence."
At age ten, the family moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Lincoln's father died when James was fourteen. Needing to earn money to support the family, James went to work for an engraving company in downtown Providence. Lincoln's job was to make the drawings for the engravings; his skill at drawing caught the attention of nearby artist C.T. Hinckley, who trained the boy in the painting.
One of Lincoln's earliest clients (when he was age 25) was wealthy Pawtucket industrialist Samuel Slater, known as the "father of American Cotton Manufacture." (see below).
Slater was pleased with this portrait, and this began a long series of portraiture for James Sullivan Lincoln.
Lincoln later became the first president of the Providence Art Club. After 1837, his work consisted entirely of portraits. He died in Providence in 1888.
b. 1872 d. 1946
Sturtevant is best known for her light-filled paintings of the historic buildings and scenic coastline of her native state, as well as her depictions of the sailboats partaking in the International Cup Races held in the waters off Newport, R.I.
Sturtevant’s formal artistic education occurred at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School and at the Colarossi Academy in Paris.
Following her schooling in Paris, Sturtevant returned to Rhode Island and set up a studio on her grandparents’ estate in Newport. In 1909 she became a member of the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors.
Her exhibition history, notwithstanding any gender-induced biases, was extensive. In a review of one of her early exhibitions at the Copley Gallery in Boston in 1909, the critic noted, “Miss Sturtevant likes the effects of light in nature. Indeed, it is among the best of her qualities.
I would be remiss if I neglected to note the establishment of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
The Rhode Island School of Design's founding is often traced back to Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf's 1876 visit to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. At the exposition, Metcalf visited the Women's Pavilion. Organized by the "Centennial Women," the pavilion showcased the work of female entrepreneurs, artists, and designers. Metcalf's visit to the pavilion profoundly impacted her and motivated her to address a deficiency in design education accessible to women.
The school opened in October 1877 in Providence. The first class consisted of 43 students, the majority of whom were women.
RISD offers bachelor's and master's degree programs across 19 majors and enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. The Rhode Island School of Design Museum—which houses the school's art and design collections—is one of the largest college art museums in the United States.
b. 1768 d. 1835
English American businessman and founder of the American cotton textile industry.
He immigrated to the United States in 1789, attracted by the bounties offered there for workers skilled in cotton manufacturing. He was forced to keep his knowledge and skills a secret from authorities, however, because, at the time of emigration of textile workers and the export of drawings of textile machinery were forbidden by British law.
Slater established the first successful cotton mill in the United States (Pawtucket, Rhode Island, 1793). He subsequently established several other plants in New England and founded the town of Slatersville, Rhode Island.
Art in Rhode Island
Known as “The Creative Capital,” Providence is every art enthusiast’s dream come true. Between the Tony award-winning theater group Trinity Repertory Company, the Festival Ballet Providence, and the Providence Improv Guild, you can catch a live performance every night of the week.
If performance art is not your thing, you can view over 100,000 objects of art and design at RISD Art Museum, part of one of America’s top art colleges. Burgeoning artists can also find their place at AS220, an affordable artist-run organization where artists of every level can take classes in everything from comic book illustration to ballet.
If Light Shows are your thing, visit the Waterfire installation. Made up of over 80 bonfires that burn on vessels atop the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence, the fire sculpture attracts tens of thousands of people every year between October and May.
Sculpture and Cabinet Making in Rhode Island