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Enoch Wood Perry Jr

 (1831 - 1915)
Enoch Wood Perry, Jr. was active/lived in New York, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii.  Enoch Perry Jr is known for genre, figure, portrait and landscape painting.

Enoch Wood Perry, Jr.

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Enoch Wood Perry, Jr.
Born in 1831 in Boston, Enoch Wood Perry, Jr, is internationally recognized for genre subjects -depictions of people engaged in everyday activities, and also for portraits of prominent Americans, including Ulysses S. Grant and Jefferson Davis.

He was educated at the Düsseldorf Academy in Germany and then at Thomas Couture's studio in France. Perry also traveled to Venice, where he served as the U.S. Consul between 1856 and 1858. When he returned to the United States in 1856, he dedicated his painting to the pursuit of American themes.

Like many Americans artists, Perry was likely intrigued by the books, travel articles, and photographs that began to circulate in the mid-nineteenth century. He traveled to northern California, where he spent several years sketching and painting with Albert Bierstadt, one of the premier painters of the American West, taking special interest in the magnificence of Yosemite Valley and its changing climate.

In 1864, Perry sailed to Honolulu, with the idea of painting the wonders of nature there, and was well received as a 'genuine artist'. He traveled to most of the islands, and painted landscapes and portraits, including posthumous images of King Kamehameha IV and his young son Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Leiopapa a Kamehameha (held in the Bishop Museum of Honolulu), as well as notable Island landscapes. Perry also received commissions to paint the 'gentlemen's seats', the estates of wealthy landholders, including Dr. Gerrit P. Judd's Kualoa Ranch on Oahu and James Makee's Rose Ranch and sugar plantation in Ulupalakua, Maui (painting held at the Honolulu Academy of Art).

In these pastoral scenes, Perry juxtaposes humankind with the grandeur of the natural world. His landscapes exhibit the traditions popularized by many painters of his day working in the United States, and he was likely inspired by his work with Albert Bierstadt in the Yosemite Valley of California. Don Severson, author of Finding Paradise writes: "Perry created some of the most compelling paintings of his era in Hawaii, including (his) depiction of Kualoa Ranch." (p.79). Perry remained in Hawaii long enough to encourage and probably instruct two island artists, Edward Bailey and Joseph Nawahi.

David Forbes, "Encounters With Paradise"
Don Severson, "Finding Paradise", in association with the Honolulu Academy of Art.

Enoch Wood Perry was a multi-faceted painter, whose wide-ranging subject matter included genre, portrait and landscape. He was born in 1831 in Boston. As a teenager and young man in New Orleans, Perry showed great enterprise and determination to be an artist. He saved eleven hundred dollars from his wages working in a grocery store from 1848 to 1852, and in the latter year went to Europe to study art.

He first studied in Dusseldorf, Germany with Emanuel Leutze from 1852 to 1854, then in Paris with Thomas Couture.

Perry's maturity and focus were apparently recognized by others than those in the art community. He was only twenty-four years of age when he was appointed U. S. Consul in Venice. He exhibited his scenes of Venice at the National Academy of Design show in 1858 upon his return to the United States. His reputation was made, and he was granted an Associate membership in the Academy.

In 1860, Perry went to New Orleans after spending a year in Philadelphia. He was making a name for himself as a portraitist of the famous, including an 1861 painting of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States. He would later paint Davis's Civil War nemesis, Ulysses S. Grant. In Hawaii after the War, Perry painted the native royalty's portraits, as he would in Utah, later, with a portrait of Mormon leader Brigham Young.

Known for his post-Civil War genre paintings, "The True American," 1875, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was one of the most popular. Many of his works appeared in Sheldon's "American Painting" and Harper's Weekly magazine. Perry moved from story telling in an academic style in his early to middle career--during which he left a valuable painted record of American furnishings--to a more painterly Impressionist view in his later work.

He died in 1915 in New York City.

Enoch Wood Perry was a member of the American Watercolor Society in addition to the National Academy of Design. His paintings are in the collections of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii; Buffalo Fine Arts Academy; the Cabildo, New Orleans; as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, and Louisiana State Museum.

David Michael Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"
John Mahe and Rosanne McCaffrey, "Encyclopedia of New Orleans Artists, 1718-1918"


Enoch Perry was born in 1831 in Boston, Massachusetts; he moved to New Orleans, Louisiana with his family in his youth, There he was one of the first graduates of the city's high school. From 1848 to 1852 Perry clerked in a grocery and was able to save $1100 for art study in Europe. From 1852 to 1854 he studied with Emanuel Leutze in Dusseldorf, concentrating on anatomy and proportion. Two further years of study with Thomas Couture in Paris greatly influenced him.

At the age of twenty-four Perry was named United States Consul in Venice, which position he served in 1856 and 1857. On his return to America, he was elected an associate membership to the National Academy of Design and a lucrative career was launched. He had been living in Philadelphia and he moved to New Orleans where he opened a studio and began painting portraits.

During the Civil War, Perry found that he had few commissions. He went to San Francisco, and the Yosemite Valley, and in the next few years travelled widely in the West from 1877 to 1881, he then returned to New York City, and went to Hawaii where he painted landscapes and portraits of native royalty. Later, in Utah, he earned more than $11,000 in a four month period, a considerable sum for that time. He died in 1915 in New York City

From the Internet,

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher form Laguna Woods, California.

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Enoch Wood Perry, Jr.
Born in Boston, MA on July 31, 1831. Perry worked as a clerk in a New Orleans store from 1848-52 and then went to Europe to study painting. He was a pupil of Leutze in Düsseldorf for two years and of Couture in Paris. He visited Rome and Venice and served as U.S. Consul in the latter city from 1856-58. After returning to the U.S., he began traveling again and was in Utah before moving to San Francisco in 1862. He was active in the local art scene and made many sketching trips into Yosemite and northern California. Six months during 1864 were spent in Hawaii; in 1866 he returned to NYC where he remained except for visits to Europe and California. Perry became internationally known for his American genre scenes and portraits of notable Americans of his time. He died in NYC on Dec. 14, 1915. Member: NA (1869); American WC Society. Exh: Mechanics' Inst. Fair (SF), 1864, 1876-84; Calif. Art Union, 1865; San Francisco Art Association, 1876; Calif. State Fair, 1879. In: Oakland Museum; Bishop Museum (Honolulu); Shasta State Historical Museum; MM; Louisiana State Museum.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Artists of the American West (Samuels); Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers (Fielding, Mantle); New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America (Groce, George C. and David H. Wallace); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Who's Who in America 1914; American Art Annual 1907-16; Art News, 12-18-1915 (obituary).

Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Enoch Wood Perry, Jr.
Perry was born in Boston on July 31, 1831. His father was Enoch Wood Perry, and mother was Hannah Knapp Dole.  Perry lived in New York City where he married Fannie Field on February 4, 1899 and died on December 14, 1915.

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About  Enoch Wood Perry, Jr.

Born:  1831 - Boston, Massachusetts
Died:   1915 - New York, New York
Known for:  genre, figure, portrait and landscape painting

Essays referring to
Enoch Wood Perry, Jr.

Artists who painted Hawaii