|Name:||Edwin Austin Abbey|
|Birth Day:||April 1, 1852|
|Death Date:||Aug 1, 1911 (age 59)|
As per our current Database, Edwin Austin Abbey died on Aug 1, 1911 (age 59).
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After attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he started publishing illustrations in such magazines as Harper's Weekly and Scribner's.
Abbey was born in Philadelphia in 1852. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Christian Schuessele. Abbey began as an illustrator, producing numerous illustrations and sketches for such magazines as Harper's Weekly (1871–1874) and Scribner's Magazine. His illustrations began appearing in Harper's Weekly at an early age: before Abbey was twenty years old. He moved to New York City in 1871. His illustrations were strongly influenced by French and German black and white art. He also illustrated several best-selling books, including Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens (1875), Selections from the Poetry of Robert Herrick (1882), and She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (1887). Abbey also illustrated a four-volume set of The Comedies of Shakespeare for Harper & Brothers in 1896.
He moved to England in 1878, at the request of his employers, to gather material for illustrations of the poems of Robert Herrick, published in 1882, and he settled permanently there in 1883. In 1883, he was elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours. About this time, he was appraised critically by the American writer, S.G.W. Benjamin:
In 1890 he made his first appearance with an oil painting, "A May Day Morn," at the Royal Academy in London. He exhibited "Richard duke of Gloucester and the Lady Anne" there in 1896, and in that year was elected A.R.A., becoming a full member in 1898. He received a gold medal at the Pan-American Exposition and was commissioned to paint the coronation of King Edward VII. in 1901; in the next year, he was chosen to paint the coronation. It was the official painting of the occasion and, hence, resides at Buckingham Palace. He did receive a knighthood, although some say he refused it in 1907. Friendly with other expatriate American artists, he summered at Broadway, Worcestershire, England, where he painted and vacationed alongside John Singer Sargent at the home of Francis Davis Millet.
In 1890, Edwin married Gertrude Mead, the daughter of a wealthy New York merchant. Mrs Abbey encouraged her husband to secure more ambitious commissions, although with their marriage commencing when both were in their forties, the couple remained childless. After her husband's death, Gertrude was active in preserving her husband's legacy, writing about his work and giving her substantial collection and archive to Yale. Edwin had been a keen supporter of the newly founded British School at Rome (BSR), so, in his memory, she donated £6000 to assist in building the artists' studio block and, in 1926, founded the Incorporated Edwin Austin Abbey Memorial Scholarships. The scholarships were established to enable British and American painters to pursue their practice. Recipients of Abbey funding – Scholars and, more recently, Fellows – devote their scholarship to working in the studios at the BSR, where there has, ever since, been at least one Abbey-funded artist in residence. Previous award holders include Stephen Farthing, Chantal Joffe and Spartacus Chetwynd. The Abbey Fellowships (formerly 'Awards') were established in their present form in 1990, and the Abbey studios also host the BSR's other fine art residencies, such as the Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship and the Sainsbury Scholarship in Painting and Drawing. A bust of Edwin Abbey, by Sir Thomas Brock, stands in the courtyard of the BSR. Edwin also left bequests of his works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and to the National Gallery in London.
He completed murals for the Boston Public Library in the 1890s. The frieze for the Library was titled "The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail". It took Abbey eleven years to complete this series of murals in his England studio. In 1897 he received the honorary degree of A.M. from Yale university.
Abbey was elected to the National Academy of Design, in 1902, and The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was honorary member of the Royal Bavarian Society and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and was made a chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. He was a prolific illustrator, and attention to detail, including historical accuracy, influenced successive generations of illustrators.
In 1904 he painted a mural for the Royal Exchange, London Reconciliation of the Skinners & Merchant Taylors' Companies by Lord Mayor Billesden, 1484.
In 1908–09, Abbey began an ambitious program of murals and other artworks for the newly completed Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. These included allegorical medallion murals representing Science, Art, Justice, and Religion for the dome of the Rotunda, four large lunette murals beneath the dome, and multiple works for the House and Senate Chambers. For the Senate chamber he finished only one painting, Von Steuben Training the American Soldiers at Valley Forge, and he was working on the Reading of the Declaration of Independence mural in early 1911, when his health began to fail. He was diagnosed with cancer. Studio assistant William Simmonds continued work on the mural with little supervision from Abbey, and with small contributions by John Singer Sergeant.
Abbey died in August 1911. William Simmonds travelled from England to install the completed murals with Abbey's widow Gertrude. The remaining two rooms, which Abbey had been unable to finish, were given to Violet Oakley, who completed the commission using her own designs.
Currently, Edwin Austin Abbey is 169 years, 2 months and 24 days old. Edwin Austin Abbey will celebrate 170th birthday on a Friday 1st of April 2022.
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