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 George Henry Hall  (1825 - 1913)

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Lived/Active: New York/New Hampshire      Known for: fruit/floral still life, figure, genre

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Ad Code: 2
George Henry Hall
from Auction House Records.
Bric-a-Brac Still Life
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography was submitted in July  of 2006 by Art Historian Michael Perez:

GEORGE HENRY HALL, N.A. (1825-1913)

George Henry Hall was born in Manchester, New Hampshire on September 21, 1825.  His father moved the family to Boston when the son was four years old.  He began his career as an artist at the age of 16.  In 1849 he traveled with his friend Eastman Johnson to Düsseldorf, Germany.  Hall studied at the Königliche Akademie for about a year, and continued his studies for two more years in Paris, and, in Rome, where he opened a studio.  In 1852 he returned to the United States and settled in New York City.  However, he remained an enthusiastic traveler and spent a total of more than 20 years abroad.  During this span Hall has visited Spain several times, and spent a year in study in Egypt.

He was elected an associate in 1853, and in 1868 a member, of the prestigious National Academy of Design.  He was also a member of the Century Association, a prominent social club for men in New York City.  They held annual exhibitions and built a large collection.  He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1853-1968, the Royal Academy, British Institute, Suffolk Street Gallery, all in London, England 1858-1874, the Brooklyn Art Association 1861-1881, the National Academy of Design 1862-1900, the Art Institute of Chicago 1888, and the Boston Art Club 1881,1889.    

One of the best-known still-life painters of the mid-19th century. In about 1857, he began painting fruit and flower still lifes.  He was much admired and financially successful in his day, as mentioned in the famous Book Of The Artist by Henry R. Tuckerman, published in 1867.  The author was impresssed that Hall received $12,000 for an auction of 75 small paintings in 1865.

Halls's fruit and flowers emphasized the rich abundance of nature and demonstrated scientific knowledge of his subject matter.  The exactiture of his paintings were greatly admired.  A critic writing for The Independent said, "His still-life pictures are his best, and in the really picturesque delineation of fruit and flowers he has few superiors in the country…".  Although the table-top setting was a common in his work, his preference for placing his still lifes in a natural setting is indicative of his devotion to the aesthetic philosophy of John Ruskin.  His work of the 1860s has affinities with the highly detailed, naturalistic imagery of the American Pre-Raphaelites, though by 1868 he was concentrating on figure painting and Spanish and Italian themes.  In the early 1880s he returned to still-life subjects (e.g. California Grapes, 1893; Worcester, MA, Art Museum).

The subject-matter of his figure paintings was often inspired by the Mediterranean locations he favoured.  His art was distinguished by a dark colour range and highly polished finish and reflected his love of Venetian painting.  After 1870 Hall exhibited regularly at the National Academy of Design, New York.

Hall's work is represented in the Abby A Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Georgia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the  Brooklyn Museum of Art, the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

George Henry Hall died in New York City on February 17, 1913.

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Although recognized by his contemporaries as one of the leading still-life painters of his generation, George Henry Hall began his career as a genre painter in the anecdotal tradition of George Caleb Bingham and William Sidney Mount.

Born in Manchester, New Hampshire, he started painting in Boston in 1842 without the benefit of instruction. In 1849 he went to Dusseldorf, Germany with Eastman Johnson, and the two friends enrolled at the Royal Academy. Hall studied at the Academy for a year, then moved to Paris to open a studio. While in Europe, he traveled to Italy. In 1852 he returned to New York and opened a second studio. Almost immediately, he became a regular exhibitor at the National Academy of Design, as well as the Boston Athenaeum. (NRS)

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George Hall is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
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