|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|William Henry Howe was born in Ravenna, Ohio in 1846. Of
him it was written: "In the late nineteenth century no American artist
was more thoroughly identified with the painting of cows than William
Henry Howe." (Richter 128). In a style that combined Tonalism and
Realism, he was a painter of light-filled pastoral landscapes that
sometimes had sheep as well as cattle tended by their shepherds and
He began a career as a businessman in St. Louis, and in his
mid-thirties, changed course and went to Dusseldorf Germany to study
art at the Royal Academy. In 1881, he went to Paris and studied
with animal painters Felix Vuillefroy and Otto de Thoren. He also
exhibited his work at the Paris Salons and the Paris Universal
Exposition of 1889.
Travels in Holland in the 1880s with other artists inspired his
interest in pastoral subjects, and during that time he began his cattle
paintings, many with distinguishing facial expressions, that led him to
be referred to as "Mr. Howe Cow". (Richter 128) One of his
favorite painting places in Holland was the hamlet of Laren, where
modern civilization seemed left behind and old-fashioned agrarian ways
prevailed. Some American landscape painters including Howe
created images between 1870 and 1900 that fed nostalgic leanings of
many viewers who envisioned a golden-age past when life was serene and
untroubled. They were also much influenced by French Barbizon
painters such as Jean Millet and Constant Troyen who regularly left
their studios in the city to paint bucolic countryside scenes near the
small town of Barbizon.
His talent brought him illustration commissions from the Bull Turham
Tobacco Company for whom he designed pouches with steer images as well
as posters that were commonly seen pasted to barn walls at the turn of
In 1893, Howe opened a studio in Bronxville, New York, having spent
time in New Orleans in 1890. That year he signed and dated a
painting of a local boy, Farm Scene with Negro Boy.
With Henry Ward Ranger, also a landscape painter, he founded the art colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut.
New York City he later opened a studio on West 42nd Street. He
was a member of the Salmagundi Club; National Academy of Design
(elected Associate in 1894, Academician in 1897); Society of American
Artists; National Institute of Arts and Letters, all in the City.
He exhibited and received awards at numerous exhibitions
including: New Orleans Exposition, 1885; Paris Salon, 1886, 1888;
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1890; Crystal Palace, London,
1890; and Columbian Expo, Chicago, 1893. He also exhibited in the South
Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition in 1901-02.
work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington,
D.C.; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; St. Louis Museum,
Missouri; and Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.
William Henry Howe died March 15, 1929 in Ravenna, Ohio.
William Gerdts, "William Henry Howe", p. 128, Union League Club of Chicago Art Collection, Editor Marianne Richter.
John Mahe, Encyclopedia of New Orleans Artists 1718-1918, p. 191
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|
William Howe is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Old Lyme Colony Painters
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915