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 Henry Chapman Ford  (1828 - 1894)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/California      Known for: mission paintings, illustrator, graphics

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Ad Code: 3
Henry Chapman Ford
from Auction House Records.
Santa Barbara Mission
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Henry Chapman Ford was best known for his paintings of the entire chain of twenty-one California missions.  He was born in Livonia, New York in 1828, but he pursued his studies in Paris and Florence during the late 1850's.

He was a Civil War illustrator and veteran, and as soon as he was discharged from service, he settled in Chicago, Illinois.  In Chicago, Ford became an accomplished landscapist, "the first professional landscape painter in that city" (Taft. 294) He was one of the founders of the Chicago Academy of Design and served as President in 1873. The studio that Ford kept in Chicago burned down in 1871.

During this period, he made several trips to Colorado, 1866 and 1869.  In 1875,
due to his desire to have a warmer climate, Ford moved to a milder climate, settling in Santa Barbara, California.  In the summers of 1880 and 1881, he traveled by horse and buggy to each mission site south of Santa Barbara.  On the mission grounds, Ford made pencil drawings and painted sketches.

Source:
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
Robert Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West




Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Best known for his 1883 series of etchings on the Franciscan missions of California, Henry Chapman Ford was raised in Livonia, New York, and began painting as a youth without the benefit of instruction. After working in a counting house for several years, he moved to the West and settled in Moline, Illinois, a growing community on the banks of the Mississippi. During this residence he sketched views along the river, which were lithographed and sold to subscribers. By 1858 Ford had saved enough money for formal study in Europe, but after a month in the Paris studio of C. P. Cranch, he took off on his own, copying pictures in the museums and sketching in the countryside.


On his return to the United States in 1861, Ford enlisted in the Union Army and served in Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, furnishing the illustrated press with sketches of army life until 1862, when he was forced by ill health to seek a medical discharge. Recuperating in Chicago, Ford opened a studio and became the city’s first landscape painter. One of the founder’s of the Chicago Academy of Design (the predecessor of the Art Institute), he served as its president for several years. In 1871 his studio burned and he lost most of his work. In failing health, he moved to California in 1875 and settled in Santa Barbara.

Nancy Rivard Shaw 2003
© Robert M. Hicklin Jr., Inc.

Neuerburg, Norman. Henry Chapman Ford/ Painter of early California.
Ventura, California: Ventura County Historical Society, 1996.


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