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 George Beck  (1748 - 1812)

About: George Beck


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Lived/Active: Kentucky      Known for: landscape painting

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BIOGRAPHY for George Beck
1748 (Ellford, England)
1812 (Lexington, Kentucky)


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landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Ellford, England, George Beck became one of the first generation of landscape artists, trained in England, to work in America as well as one of the first professional landscape artists in the country. He was based in Baltimore and Philadelphia, and several of his paintings of Potomac Falls were purchased by George Washington for his Mount Vernon home. He also painted views of Baltimore that are in the Maryland Historical Society and reportedly decorated furniture for General Wilkins on his luxury yacht on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. In Cincinnati, the couple lived at Menessier's tavern owned by Mary's father

In England, Beck served in the British Corps of Engineers for ten years as a draftsman, and then devoted himself to landscape painting and exhibited in London in the 1790s. His teacher was Mary Menessier, whom he married in 1786, and in 1794, they emigrated to America where Mary continued to teach art in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Lexington.

He worked in Baltimore and Philadelphia and earned a reputation for dramatic natural landscape. In 1804, the Becks traveled throughout the Western regions, and they became the first professional artists to paint west of the Allegheny Mountains. The couple settled in Lexington, Kentucky in 1804 where he advertised as a portraitist, and the couple ran an art academy. Beck died of tuberculosis in 1812, having seen his work drop in popularity after his move to Lexington.

Michael David Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"
Matthew Baigell, "Dictionary of American Art"
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

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