Reproduction classic Abbey paintings painted in oil on canvas. All Abbey artwork entirely hand painted.
Edwin Austin Abbey (American painter) 1852 - 1911
Edwin Austin Abbey was an American artist, illustrator and painter. He flourished at the start of what is now called the "Golden Age" of illustration and is best known for his drawings and paintings of Shakespearean and Victorian subjects, as well as his painting of the Coronation of Edward VII. His most famous work, The Quest for the Holy Grail, is in the Boston Public Library.
Abbey was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1852. He studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Christian Schuessele. Abbey began as an illustrator, producing many illustrations and sketches for magazines such 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. He moved to New York in 1871. His illustrations were heavily 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 Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer (1887).
Abbey also illustrated a four-volume set of Shakespeare's Comedies for Harper & Brothers in 1896. He moved to England in 1878, at the request of his employers, to gather information on Robert Herrick, and he settled there permanently in 1883. In 1883 he was elected to the Royal Institute of Watercolourists.
He was made a full member of the Royal Academy in 1898. In 1902 he was chosen to paint the coronation of King Edward VII. It was the official painting of the occasion and therefore resides at Buckingham Palace. He received a knighthood, although some say he declined it in 1907. Friends with other expatriate American artists, he summered on Broadway, Worcestershire, England, where he painted and spent vacation alongside John Singer Sargent at Francis Davis Millet. He produced murals for the Boston Public Library in the 1890s. The frieze in the library was titled "The Quest for the Holy Grail." It took Abbey eleven years to complete this series of murals in his studio in England.
In 1908-1909 Abbey painted a number of murals and other artwork for the rotunda of the new Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His works in this building include allegorical medallions representing science, art, justice and religion in the Capitol rotunda, large lunette murals under the Capitol dome, and a number of works in the Chamber of the House. Unfortunately, Abbey fell ill with cancer in 1911, which slowed down her work.
At the time, he was working on the "Reading of the Declaration of Independence Fresco" which was later installed in the Chamber of the House. Abbey was so ill that his studio assistant, Ernest Board, finished the job with little supervision from Abbey. Later in 1911, Abbey died, leaving his commission for the Pennsylvania State Capitol unfinished. John Singer Sargent, a friend and neighbor of Abbey, and Studio Board assistant completed the "Declaration of Independence Mural Reading".
Abbey's works have been installed in the rotunda and bedroom of the house. Two pieces from Abbey's order were not made, and the rest of the order went to Violet Oakley. Oakley carried out the work from start to finish using its own designs. Abbey remained a prolific illustrator after settling in England. His attention to detail, including historical accuracy, influenced successive generations of illustrators. Abbey was elected to the National Academy of Design, in 1902, and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1937, Yale University became home to a large collection of Abbey's works, the result of a bequest from Abbey's widow.
© Copyright 1996-2023 Paul Oeuvre Art inc.
Votes: 4.8 / 5 based on 4173 comments.