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Henry Cady

 (1849 - 1935)
Henry Newell Cady was active/lived in Rhode Island, New Jersey.  Henry Cady is known for New England seascape, coastal views.

Henry Cady

Biography from the Archives of askART

An artist at the turn of the century from the small coastal town of Warren, Rhode Island, Henry Cady was best known for his seascapes of the New England coastline with a sensitive touch for capturing the effects of sky and sunlight conditions as they affected the sea and rocky shoreline in ever-changing rhythms. As a self-taught painter, Cady exhibited amazing ability at a young age. One of his paintings, dated 1869 when he was twenty, of seacoast waves crashing on the rocky New England shore, hangs in the John Hay Library of Brown University.

Cady was born on July 8, 1849, near the waters of Narragansett Bay. His leisure was spent in the quaint harbor of Warren where old whalers and merchantmen landed. Here he learned to know and love the sea. The original Cady family settled near Boston during the middle 1600's. His father was an educator and principal of schools in the little town of Warren.

After graduating from Brown University in 1869, Cady tutored students while developing his skill as a painter. In 1872 on Christmas Day he married Anne Cole, who gave him two sons and a daughter. Apparently unable to support the demands of a growing family, Cady and his young family moved to New Jersey where he made a more secure livelihood as a photo-engraver for thirteen years. In 1895 when advancing photography techniques lessened the need for photo-engraving, he returned to Warren at the age of 46, spending the rest of his life working at what he loved best - painting the sea.

Cady illustrated for many magazines and books, worked as an architect for several years, and with his wife co-authored books telling of his boyhood adventures and of early American history. He also loved good music and wrote a number of piano compositions. He was an organist for three local churches. In later years, although losing his hearing, he continued to play and compose. His last composition was written in 1926 when he as completely deaf. Cady died on May 15, 1935, at the age of 86 in the town in which he had been born, painting until a few years before his death.

His works were exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, and the Exposition of American Artists in Springfield, Massachusetts.

According to his obituaries, Cady was well regarded during his lifetime. He was a quiet, unassuming person who left few records of him self, preferring to let his paintings speak for him. The strong emotional content of Cady's art evinces a mystical attachment to the New England coastal environment. To viewers of the present day, his paintings evoke similar responses - a love for the sea, a fascination with light on fluid surfaces, and an identification with nature for a sense of well-being. Surely Cady revealed himself through his paintings, and his paintings reveal him to us.

Submitted by Edward Bentley.

Source: Cay Wade, Northern Fine Arts Center, April 1985

Additional information: (From a letter written by Henry Newell Cady.)

"My instruction in art was brief, consisting of a few weeks attendance in 1872 at the 'antique' department of the National Academy of Design art school in New York, where I drew a 'pallid bust of Pallas' and concluded that further attendance would not help me toward what I was after. So I had to be a self-taught like other sea-scape painters of that period, making blunder and trying not to repeat them"

Biography from the Archives of askART
The following is excerpted from his obituary from the Providence Evening Bulletin, Thursday May 16, 1935

H. N. Cady, Marine Painter, is dead.

Born in Warren, July 8, 1849, a son of Isaac Foote and Clementine (Lee) Cady, he later turned to the scene of his boyhood for inspiration in painting and writing. His works were exhibited widely. One of his marine paintings hangs in Brown University, a gift of the artist to his Alma Mater.

Mr. Cady began his work immediately after graduating from college in 1869. He traveled north to Maine in his search for new subjects, but spent his happiest hours around Narragansett Bay. May of his paintings show sunsets on these waters. He also did portraits and landscapes.

The artist used the brush, pen and pencil with equal facility. He did illustrating for several leading magazines and for books. He also worked as an architect for several years.

Mr. Cady erected a special studio on the Kickemuit river. There, aided by cloud reflectors and other devices, he painted canvases under lighting conditions made to conform with those in the homes of prospective purchasers.

In the books, which he wrote under the name of Wallace P. Stanley, Mr. Cady told of his boyhood adventures. After his marriage to Anne Cole Cady, a historian, on Christmas, 1872, his interest in the work was increased. Together the couple wrote an exhaustive history: "The American Continent Before Columbus." Mrs. Cady died in 1911.

Mr. Cady composed numerous pieces of music, a number of which he himself made into rolls for player pianos. These he gave to relatives and friends.

Except for the period between 1883 and 1895, when he lived successively in South Orange, N.J., Germantown, Pa., and Philadelphia, Mr. Cady spent his entire life in Warren.

Please Note: All the above information was excerpted from the exhibition catalog: "Henry Newell Cady, Warren, Rhode Island. 1849 - 1935." The paintings shown were from the collection Robert and Marjorie Catanzaro. The exhibit took place March 18 through June 16, 1985 at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy.

Biography from the Archives of askART
Works located at:

Brown University:
1. Oil painting [untitled]--marine scene of waves crashing against a rocky New England shore (1869) (acc.# HP 01427)
2. Oil painting [untitled]--seascape with waves crashing against rocks (1897) (acc.# HP 00438)

David Winton Bell Gallery:
1. Oil painting , canvas mounted on board, "Sea and Rocks" (1897)

George Hail Free Library, Warren:
1. Ink sketch with white highlights

Massassoit Historical Society:
1. approximately 100-125 glass slides--images of waves and clouds made by Cady to use as working studies
2. Oil painting [untitled]--marine scene (on loan to the George Hail Free Lib., Warren

Rhode Island Historical Society--Graphics Dept.:
1. Watercolor [untitled]--marine scene (call # Graphics XXB Paintings M338 2)
2. Wood engraving, "Rocky Point, Narragansett Bay (1878) (call# Graphics BB Prints W3R6)--attributed to Cady

Rhode Island School of Design:
1. Pen and ink, "Group of Children" (mid 19th-early 20th c.) (acc.# 1987.112)

St. Marks Episcopal Church, Warren:
1. Oil painting [untitled]--marine scene, waves crashing against large rocks

Warren Preservation Society:
1. Double sided oil sketch (two studies of sea and sky)

Unveiled: a directory and guide to 19th century born artists active in Rhode Island, and where to find their work in publicly accessible Rhode Island collections
by Elinor L. Nacheman

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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About  Henry Cady

Born:  1849 - Warren, Rhode Island
Died:   1935 - Warren, Rhode Island
Known for:  New England seascape, coastal views