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 John Bunyan Bristol  (1826 - 1909)

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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts      Known for: landscape, genre and figure painting

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Ad Code: 3
John Bunyan Bristol
from Auction House Records.
Gate, St. Augustine, Florida
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Hillsdale, near Hudson, New York, John Bristol was primarily a self-taught artist.  He did study briefly with the landscapist Henry Ary, who moved to the Hudson area in the early 1840s.  Painters in Hudson were noted as landscape specialists, and Ary, who was known for his picturesque views of the town and nearby Mount Merino, was the instructor in painting and drawing at the Hudson Female Academy, and had some influence on artists in the area.

John Bristol exhibited at the National Academy of Design from 1858 to 1900, was elected an associate academician in 1860, and a member in 1875.  Although Bristol lived in New York City, he traveled and painted throughout New England almost every summer.  He was a member of the Century Association from 1873 to 1909.

Bristol exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 where he was awarded a medal, at the Paris Exposition of 1889, where he won a prize, and at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901 where he also received a medal. His work is preserved at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore.

Source:
David Dearinger, Editor, "John Bunyan Bristol", Paintings and Sculpture in the Academy of the National Academy of Design, p. 68


Biography from The Artisfun Gallery:
John Bunyan Bristol, N.A., landscape-painter, was born in Hillsdale, New York, March 14, 1826.  His early life was a struggle without aid, instruction, or sympathy. At the beginning of his career he painted figures and portraits, but afterward turned his attention exclusively to landscapes. His studies were from nature.

He was primarily a self-taught artist, however, he did study briefly with the landscapist Henry Ary (a four-week course), who moved to the Hudson area in the early 1840s.  Painters in Hudson were noted as landscape specialists, and Ary, who was known for his picturesque views of the town and nearby Mount Merino, was the instructor in painting and drawing at the Hudson Female Academy, and had some influence on artists in the area.  Unlike his contemporaries Asher B. Durand, John W. Casilear, and John F. Kensett, he never traveled to Europe, but Bristol's distinctive style was consistent with the early spirit of the Hudson River School.

Bristol became a highly accomplished artist who painted most extensively in the Adirondacks, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont.  He produced works displaying land, water and mountain views with a luminous quality.  In 1860 he made his home in New York City, finding inspiration for his landscapes in the Berkshire Mountains, along the New Jersey coast, around Lake George and Lake Champlain, the Connecticut River Valley, the Green Mountains and throughout New England.

As Samuel Isham inThe History of American Painting, 1942 observed: "No one constructs a landscape more firmly than he; the solidity of the earth, the level of the lake, the plane of the distant hills, the enveloping of all by the summer sky with sunlit clouds – all are given with an absolute sureness…". Like his colleagues Kensett and Durand, with whom he is often compared, Bristol accurately captured the spirit of the landscape while remaining true to the ideals of the Hudson River School.

He was a member of the National Academy of Design, the Century Association 1873-1909, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Artists Fund Society. John Bristol was elected an associate academician in 1860, and a full member in 1875.  Although Bristol lived in New York City, he traveled and painted throughout New England almost every summer.  In 1859, he traveled to Florida producing several works of the St. Johns River and of St. Augustine.

Exhibitions include the National Academy of Design from 1858 to 1900; the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, where he was awarded a medal; the Paris Salon Exposition of 1889, where he won a prize; the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901, where he also received a medal; Brooklyn Art Association 1862-1884; Boston Art Club 1877 and 1885; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1888; and Art Institute of Chicago, 1888-1901.

His work is represented in many private and public collections including: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hudson River Museum, George Walter Vincent Smith Museum, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Robert Hull Fleming Museum, Huntington Library & Gallery Peabody Institute in Baltimore.

John Bunyan Bristol died on August 31, 1909, at the Home of Incurables in New York City, where he was hospitalized for a year after suffering from paralysis following a massive stroke.

Sources:
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who In American Art
Celebrating Florida – Works Of Art From The Vickers Collection
Smithsonian Archives
Other Internet Resources

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
Lauded as one of the early proponents of the Hudson River School, John Bunyan Bristol was a commercially successful and highly regarded painter of luminous landscapes.  While his work is often compared to that of Asher B. Durand and John F. Kensett, one critic of the day opined that “no one constructs a landscape more firmly than he; the solidity of the earth, the level of the lake, the plane of the distant hills, the enveloping of all by the summer sky with sunlit clouds—all are given with an absolute sureness.”

Born to humble circumstances in Hillsdale, New York, Bristol’s only formal training was a brief course of study with Henry Ary, a landscapist who moved to the Hudson area in the early 1840s to teach.  In search of inspiration, Bristol traveled extensively through the Adirondacks and New England, recording scenes of majestic beauty. From 1860 on, he made his home in New York City, participating in key exhibitions and garnering important accolades.  A member of the National Academy of Design and Century Association, he did canvases which were included in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1889 Paris Salon Exhibition, and 1901 Pan-American Exhibition, as well as annuals at the Brooklyn Art Association, Boston Art Club, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1859, Bristol traveled to Florida and produced several works featuring the St. John’s River and St. Augustine. Many of these were exhibited at the National
Academy of Design and other institutions in the following years.

This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from the Hicklin Galleries, LLC.


Biography from Covington Fine Arts Gallery, Inc.:
Born in Hillsdale New York, John Bunyan Bristol took a four-week course in art from Henry Ary, but otherwise was a self-taught painter from nature.  He became a highly accomplished artist who painted most extensively in the Adirondacks, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont.

He produced works displaying land, water and mountain views with a luminous quality. He was a member of the National Academy and exhibited there plus the Century Association, Pennsylvania Academy, Artists Fund Society, Paris Salon of 1878, Brooklyn Academy and others



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