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Charles Loring Elliott

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Charles Loring Elliott
(Scipio, New York, 1812 - 1868, Albany, New York)

Charles Loring Elliott was born in Scipio, Cayuga County, New York in 1812. After working with his father, an architect, he went to New York City in 1829 to become a painter. There he drew from antique casts at the American Academy under the direction of John Trumbull. He also studied with John Quidor and William Rimmer. For the next decade he worked as an itinerant portraitist in upstate New York before returning to New York City. He began exhibiting at the National Academy of Design in 1839 and was elected an academician in 1846. By that time he had studied with Henry Inman, then the premier portraitist in the City, for a couple of years and had surpassed him in popularity.

Elliot “enjoyed great success during his career, developing a mature style that exhibited an objective naturalism sought by many of America’s wealthiest patrons” (Kornhauser, Wadsworth, vol. 1, 352). He worked from photographs to create factually accurate depictions, completing approximately 700 portraits total, plus a few landscapes and figure pieces. Elliott “specialized in bust-length portrayals, concentrating on capturing a penetrating and detailed likeness” (Kornhauser, Wadsworth, vol 1, 353). “Firm drawing, clean, clear color, and a natural likeness were the characteristics of his portraits” (DAB). He was in great demand until his death, which came in Albany, New York in 1868.

Image credit: George Kasson Knapp, Charles Loring Elliott, 1877, lithograph on paper, Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.81.43, CC0

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