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With essays by Elizabeth Johns, Cheryl Leibold, Katharine Martinez, Elizabeth Milroy, Sue Himelick Nutty, Patricia Likos Ricci, Ethan Robey, Kirsten Swinth, Page Talbott, Tara Leigh Tappert, Mark Thistlethwaite, Andrew L. Thomas, Nina di Angeli Walls, Helena E. Wright, Sylvia Yount In their day, from 1830 to 1930, members of the Sartain family of...
With essays by Elizabeth Johns, Cheryl Leibold, Katharine Martinez, Elizabeth Milroy, Sue Himelick Nutty, Patricia Likos Ricci, Ethan Robey, Kirsten Swinth, Page Talbott, Tara Leigh Tappert, Mark Thistlethwaite, Andrew L. Thomas, Nina di Angeli Walls, Helena E. Wright, Sylvia Yount In their day, from 1830 to 1930, members of the Sartain family of Philadelphia were widely known as printmakers, painters, art administrators, and educators. Since then, the accomplishments of three generations of Sartains John, children Samuel, Henry, Emily, and William, and grand-daughter Harriet have become obscure. This wide-ranging collection of essays aims to rectify that situation. The patriarch of the family John Sartain came to Philadelphia from England in 1830 to make a name for himself as a mezzotint engraver. Mezzotint was a sophisticated means of popularizing the work of well-known painters, and as an engraver trained in London, John was in great demand. He became influential, not just as a pictorial engraver, but as a painter, publisher, and administrator. He even designed monuments and furniture. And he passed on his skills and learning to his children. One of John's daughters and three of his sons went on to become equally celebrated. Emily, with her friend Mary Cassatt, became a well-known painter and principal of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, precursor of Moore College of Art and Design. As an art educator, she became a leader in the women's art movement and traveled widely as a speaker and delegate. John's sons Samuel and Henry worked closely with their father as engravers and printmakers and were early photography enthusiasts. Son William moved to New York, where he became an associate of the National Academy of Design, a founder of the Society of American Artists, and president of the Art Club of New York. Henry's daughter Harriet followed her aunt Emily as head of the School of Design, where she advocated broad popular access to art appreciation and training. The Sartains were important not just for who they were but for whom they knew and influenced. They were in the vanguard of the movement to democratize art and art education. Among their acquaintances were painter Thomas Eakins, Emily's one-time beau; poet and short-story writer Edgar Allen Poe; industrialist and art collector Joseph Harrison, Jr.; and Harriet Judd Sartain, a successful homeopathic physician who financed her niece Emily's professional training. Lavishly illustrated with 113 duotones and 8 color plates, Philadelphia's Cultural Landscape is a fascinating look at a century in which the production and promulgation of art was seen as everybody's business, and at a family that epitomized that spirit. Author note: Katharine Martinez is the Herman and Joan Suit Librarian of the Fine Arts Library of Harvard College Library, Harvard University. Page Talbott is an independent museum curator and consultant, specializing in American decorative and fine arts.
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