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 William F. Cogswell  (1819 - 1903)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: portrait, genre-western frontier

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Ad Code: 3
William F Cogswell
An example of work by William F. Cogswell
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Self-taught portrait and genre painter, William F. Cogswell taught himself portrait painting in the 1830's while working in a color factory in Buffalo, New York. He worked as a professional artist in New York City during the 1840's. In 1849 he went to California, but he soon returned to New York City.

Over the next twenty-five years he worked in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville (KY), St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.. His best-known work was the portrait of Lincoln, which now hangs in the White House, he also painted Grant and McKinley. In 1873 he moved to California, where he spent the rest of his life and painted Mr. and Mrs. Mark Hopkins, and a number of California governors. He also visited Hawaii and painted portraits of King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. He died in South Pasadena (1903).

Groce and Wallace, "The New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America"

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Painter. Born in Fabius, NY on July 19, 1819 of English ancestors who settled in Massachusetts in 1633. Cogswell showed artistic talent at an early age and, except for a short period as an assistant to a portraitist in Buffalo, remained a self-taught artist. When gold was discovered in California, he joined the rush in 1850 and remained in California for one year. Returning to New York via the Isthmus of Panama, he painted an enormous panorama of the Gold Rush and Panama which he exhibited in eastern cities.

An itinerant artist, he resided in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, St Louis, Cincinnati, and Louisville. Portraits during this period included many prominent people including Presidents Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, and General Sheridan. Cogswell returned to San Francisco in 1873.

His sitters in California included Mr. and Mrs. Mark Hopkins, Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford, and nine governors of California. On a visit to Hawaii he painted portraits of King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. His last years were spent in San Francisco and then Pasadena where he died on Dec. 24, 1903.

Exh: NAD and American Art Union, NY, 1847-49; St Louis Mechanics Fair, 1860 (silver medal); SFAA, 1873-75; Mechanics Inst. (SF), 1875; Mark Hopkins Inst., 1898; Calif. State Fair, 1900-02. In: LACMA; Capitol (Washington, DC); Pasadena City Auditorium; Executive Office, Calif. State Capitol; Society of Calif. Pioneers; NMAA G&W; JVN; Pasadena Evening Star, 12-26-1903 (obit).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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Artists who painted Hawaii

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