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 Andrew John Henry Way  (1826 - 1888)

About: Andrew John Henry Way
 

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Lived/Active: Maryland/District Of Columbia      Known for: still life "portraits", grapes, oysters

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BIOGRAPHY for Andrew Way
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Birth
1826 (Washington District Of Columbia)
 
Death
1888 (Baltimore, Maryland)

Lived/Active
Maryland/District Of Columbia

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still life "portraits", grapes, oysters

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Still life, portrait and landscape painter, Andrew John Henry Way was born in Washington, D. C., 27 April, 1826 and died in Baltimore, Maryland, 7 February, 1888. He studied first with John Peter Frankenstein in Cincinnati (c. 1847), then with Alfred Jacob Miller in Baltimore (late 1840s). In 1850 he went to Paris to study at the studio of Michel-Martin Drolling and in 1851 at the Academia della Bella Arte, Florence. After a stay in Europe of four years he returned to his native country, settling in Baltimore.

For some time he was mainly a portrait painter, but a fruit-piece that he painted about 1859 attracted the attention of Emanuel Leutze, noted German-American painter, on whose advice he devoted himself thereafter to the painting of still-life subjects. He had great success creating still lifes, especially in the representation of grapes, those grown in the western United States to those grown in France.

Andrew John Henry Way's work was admired by art patron William T. Walters. A number of Way still-lifes of grapes remain a part of the Walters Art Museum permanent collection.

At the Philadelphia exhibition of 1876 he received a medal for two panels and at the Philadelphia Centennial received the award for "Excellence in Still Life" Medal. His numerous works include " A Christmas Memory" (1870); "Prince Albert Grapes" and "Flora and Pomona" (1874); "Wild Fowl" (1882) . "A Sportsman's Luck " (1883); and "To my Sweetheart" and "Preparation for Apple Toddy" (1887). Several of his paintings have been lithographed.

His son, George Brevitt, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 29 October, 1854, was educated at the United States naval academy, studied art in Paris, and has followed it as a profession.

Source:

Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright 2001 Virtualology
http://www.famousamericans.net/andrewjohnhenryway/

Maryland Art Source retrieved from:
http://www.marylandartsource.org/artists/detail_000000028.html
Selected References: Johnston, William R. "American Paintings in the Walters Art Gallery,"Magazine Antiques (v.106: 5, Nov. 1974) 853-9.
Dean, Mary A. [et al.] 350 Years of Art & Architecture in Maryland (College Park : Art Gallery, and Gallery of the School of Architecture, University of Maryland), 1984.
Maryland Institutions Holding Artworks: Maryland Historical Society; Walters Art Museum

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Baltimore boasted a thriving art community in the second half of the nineteenth century. Even in the midst of the War Between the States, The Maryland Academy of the Fine Arts, which had opened on the eve of hostilities, provided professional training for a growing number of local aspiring artists.

The Maryland Art Association, founded in 1847, continually encouraged patronage by regularly exhibiting artists' works, while numerous commercial galleries expanded the marketplace even further. Local connoisseurs William T. Walters, Owen A. Gill, John C. Brune and Dr. Thomas Edmondson were amassing private collections and paying handsomely for the privilege. It is little wonder that many artists who came to Baltimore for whatever reason -- to study, to undertake a commission, or to meet a personal obligation -- would stay for ten years or a lifetime.

By far the most popular, even the most beloved, of Baltimore's numerous successful artists at mid-century was Andrew Way. Hardly a week went by that he was not mentioned in the press, which fondly dubbed him "the city's treasure." (1) At the peak of his career Way commanded and received top dollar (sometimes as much as $1,000) for still-life pictures of grapes and, a Maryland staple, the oyster. Way's success lay in mastery of his craft through years of training and in his understanding of popular taste of the day.

He was born in Washington, D.C. and enjoyed the encouragement of a loving mother who was herself an amateur artist. He studied to be a portraitist, first at the easel of John Peter Frankenstein in Cincinnati and subsequently in the Baltimore studio of Alfred Jacob Miller. After completing his education in the Paris atelier of Martin Drolling and the Academia de Belle Arte in Florence, he returned to Baltimore to hang up his shingle as a portraitist.

Way earned a living through portrait commissions but received little notoriety. Portrait painting was rapidly becoming a dead end for artists on account of the growing availability of good, cheap photographic images. Emmanuel Leutze, when he passed through Baltimore in 1860, happened to see some of Way's earliest, experimental efforts in the still-life genre, and recognizing their quality, advised Way to abandon faces immediately for fruit, flowers, fish and fowl.

The advice was well taken and in a short time Way became known up and down the eastern seaboard for his still-life paintings, particularly his near palpable renderings of grapes. Contemporary critics called his pictures of grapes "portraits." They were so scientifically accurate that varieties such as Muscat, Flamme de Tokay, Gros Colmo, Black Hamburg, Black, and White grapes could be distinguished one from another. William T. Walters, and avid patron of Way's, commissioned a "portrait" of the prized Prince Albert grapes which he grew at St. Mary's, his estate north of Baltimore. The resulting picture, perhaps Way's most stunning achievement, is now in the collection of The Walters Art Gallery.

"Red Grapes", shown in this catalogue, is nearly identical to two other paintings. One of these is painted on a panel measuring 20 c x 10 inches, and the other is a reduced version measuring only 6 x 4 inches. It was not uncommon for Way to paint three or four versions of a subject that he liked. These three pictures are unique in way's oeuvre, for they are the only grape still-lifes that he painted with black backgrounds. They were probably painted during the War Between the States, circa 1862-1865.

Way's grapes are nearly all shown hanging, crowned by leaves, in their natural position rather than lying plucked and bare on a tabletop in the manner of the work of Sarah Miriam Peale, a Baltimore still-life painter of the preceding generation. Way was very much aware of the Ruskinian precept that the best position in which to see an object was as it appeared in nature. (2)

John Ruskin's seminal work, "Modern Painters", had appeared in the United States in the mid 1840's and was read by everyone, artists, writers and laymen alike. It inspired a periodical called The New Path, the organ of the American Pre-Raphaelites, which appeared sporadically between 1863 and 1865. Volume II of that journal called for artists to be botanists so that birch, elms, and oaks, to use the author's example, could be distinguished one from another, a lesson which Way obviously took to heart.

In addition to his own career as painter, Way fostered the careers of others as a partner in Way and Perrigo, a Baltimore art gallery. His own works were regularly displayed there as were paintings by local artists Hugh Bolton Jones and Arthur Quartley. Yes, Baltimore was an artist's boom town in the second half of the nineteenth century, and no one benefited from the situation more, or injected more into it, than Andrew John Henry Way.

Source:

(1) Special thanks to Steven Epstein for sharing his unpublished findings on Andrew John Henry Way.

2William H. Gerdts, "The Influence of Ruskin and Pre-Raphaelitism on American Still-Life Painting, "The American Art Journal, vol. I, no. 2, Fall 1969, pp. 80-97.


Biography from The Johnson Collection:
Andrew Way’s early education offers little evidence of an interest in still life art. A native of Washington, D.C., he began his art education in Cincinnati with the portraitist John Peter Frankenstein around 1847, prior to studies in Baltimore with Alfred Jacob Miller, both of whom would have instructed him in portraiture. He pursued further tutelage in Europe at the Paris atelier of Michel Martin Drolling, as well as at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence from 1850 to 1854. Once his formal training was complete, Way returned to Baltimore and set up shop as a portrait artist in the waning days of that craft’s popularity. In 1860, Way came to the attention of visiting history painter Emanuel Leutze who encouraged him to pursue still life subject matter in the Düsseldorf style. Taking this advice to heart, Way began to paint fruit, primarily grapes, executed with great detail to form, a particular brilliance of light and typically staged against a dark background.

Way soon enjoyed the patronage of the highly successful Baltimore capitalist and art collector William Thompson Walters, who placed his personal conservatory at the artist’s disposal and acquired many of the resulting works. Despite the market demand and critical preference for vast panoramic landscapes and historic scenes, Way prospered, becoming the most important still life painter in the mid-Atlantic area during the late nineteenth century. Way, who also executed still life paintings of oysters, exhibited widely during his lifetime, participating in industrial expositions in Chicago, Cincinnati and Louisville, as well as the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. A popular figure in the flourishing Baltimore arts community, he was instrumental in the founding of the Maryland Art Academy in 1871 and the Charcoal Club of Baltimore in 1885.

A highly informed artist, Way’s early still lifes—often small groupings of fruit gathered on a precipitous marble ledge in the Dutch manner—are very reminiscent of the works of the Peale family earlier in the century. Later pictures, such as this example, are far more brooding and recall the sober still life art of Willem Kalf. The inclusion of the cantaloupe, grape and brightly colored majolica pottery in Still Life with Fruit on Silver Salver connect it to Way’s An Abundance of Fruit, held by the Morris Museum of Art.

The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina
www.thejohnsoncollection.org

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