Our list gives you many notable artists in this category from our database of painters, illustrators and sculptors. Of this group, some very collectible artists today are Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt,
William Paxton, Frederic Remington, William Harnett, Thomas Cole, and Thomas Eakins. Only two women are included among those who studied in Paris before 1900: Mary Cassatt and Cecilia Beaux, which was remarkable for them in a place where the art schools both officially and unofficially excluded women.
Only thirteen of these artists later took up primary residences in states west of the Allegheny Mountains: James Beckwith went to Illinois; Robert Blum, Henry Farny, and Frank Duveneck, to Ohio; Sidney Laurence, to Alaska; William Wendt, Theodore Wores, and Raymond Yelland to California; and Ernest Blumenschein, Eanger Couse, Leon Gaspard, Bert Phillips, and Joseph Sharp to New Mexico.
Because so few art schools existed in America in the 19th century, many serious aspiring artists, particularly after the Civil War, sought training in Europe, especially France. It was an experience that provided much camaraderie among the artists involved and led to future associations in the United States such as The Taos Art Colony, resulting from the friendship of Joseph Sharp and Ernest Blumenschein. Today, of course, travel to foreign countries is no longer necessary for basic art training because most American universities as well as many private entities have art schools.
In 19th century Paris, the ultimate recognition was gaining enrollment in the tuition- free Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the official French government school dating back to 1648. But few American students were admitted, including no women until 1897. Many of America's future leading artists, such as John Singer Sargent and Robert Henri, were admitted to the Ecole, but Thomas Eakins never succeeded.
Often American students not admitted to the Ecole, as well as others already enrolled, worked in private ateliers to get practical training in painting and sculpture. Popular atelier teachers were Thomas Couture, Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre, Alexandre Cabanel, and Jean-Leon Gerome. Lemuel Everett Wilmarth became the first American student to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts with the famous teacher, Gerome.
Many artists not admitted to the Ecole attended The Academie Julian, founded in 1868 by painter Rodolphe Julian. Its atmosphere was looser than that of the Ecole des Beaux Arts and fostered much bohemian behavior among its attendees. However, the course of study was fairly rigorous, and the ultimate accomplishment for its students was winning the Prix de Rome, a competition whose winners got to spend four to five years in Rome at the French Academy.
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