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 Frederick Stiles Agate  (1803 - 1844)

About: Frederick Stiles Agate


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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: portrait and history painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born of English immigrant parents at Sparta, Westchester County, New York, Frederick Agate went to New York City at the age of 15 to study drawing with John Rubens Smith.  Seven years later, he and his friend Thomas S Cummings left Smith to study with S.F.B. Morse at the American Academy of Fine Arts.

Agate and Cummings, prevented from drawing independently and unhappy with an encounter with John Trumbull, Academy President, led the art rebellion that resulted in the formation of the New York Drawing Association, "which was quickly reconstituted as the National Academy of Design. 

Agate went to Europe in 1834, staying briefly in Paris and then moving on to Italy, where he studied the Old Masters in Florence.  He became increasingly committed to historical painting but later when he established himself as a historical and portrait painter at a studio at 152 Broadway in New York, he found portraiture to be more lucrative. 

He spent less that an year in Italy because of contracting tuberculosis.  In New York, he became a very active member of the National Academy of Design and was elected to its ruling council in 1839.  In 1840, he was named Curator or Keeper of the Academy, which involved management of the school and Academy property.  From 1840 to 1844, he was Instructor of Drawing at the Academy.

Jonathan P. Harding, Essay in Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of The National Academy of Design, David Dearinger, General Editor, p. 9

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