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Benjamin Franklin Reinhardt

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Benjamin Franklin Reinhardt
(Richland County, Ohio, 1829 - 1885, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Most biographical sources indicate that Benjamin Franklin Reinhardt (a.k.a. Reinhart, Rinehart) was born near Waynesburg, Pennsylvania August 29, 1829, but Reinhardt’s National Academy of Design student record lists his birthplace as Richland County, Ohio. (1) He studied in Pittsburgh in 1844 and in 1847 at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He then returned to Ohio and the western states where he painted portraits until 1850 when he went to Europe for three years to study in Dusseldorf, Paris, and Rome. (2)

Reinhardt took a studio in New Orleans in 1859 and went into partnership with Theodore Sidney Moise, who collaborated with numerous artists by painting the animals in portraits. Several sources indicate that Reinhardt left the city in 1861 with the outbreak of the Civil War, but the Daily Delta of February 14, 1862 reported that the Reinhart [sic] Guards under Col. Frank Bartlett had been named in honor of “this most public spirited citizen” who had aided the Confederacy financially. (3) When the city fell to Union troops on May 1, 1862, Reinhardt fled to London, where he painted a portrait of Robert E. Lee from a daguerreotype. (4) He was a noted portrait painter in London until 1868, when he returned to New York City. He was elected an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1871. Many of his works were engraved. He died in Philadelphia May 3, 1885.

(1) David D. Dearinger, ed., Paintings and Sculptures in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, vol. 1, 1826-1925 (New York: National Academy of Design, 2004), 459. John A. Mahe and Rosanne McCaffrey, eds., Encyclopedia of New Orleans Artists, 1718-1918 (New Orleans: Historic New Orleans Collection, 1987) dates birth to 1827. Fielding and Dearinger say 1829. Dearinger, Inventory of American Portraits, Catalog of American Portraits, and NYHS all spell the artist’s name Reinhart.

(2) Dearinger, p. 459.

(3) Estill Curtis Pennington, Downriver: Currents of Style in Louisiana Painting, 1800-1950 (Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Co., 1991), pp. 60 and 62.

(4) Pennington, Downriver, p. 62. The Inventory of American Portraits indicates he painted several other portraits of Confederate leaders including Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, General P.G.T. Beauregard, and General Joseph Johnston.


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