|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born in Warren, Ohio in 1856, Kenyon Cox was considered one of the
finest draftsmen of his day. He did easel paintings, portraits,
and illustrations for books and magazines, but it was for mural
paintings that he became best known. The murals, classically
inspired, simple in composition and muted in color, were commissioned
for public and collegiate buildings in many parts of the country.
His mural installations, many of them done in his studio in Cornish,
New Hampshire, include venues at the Library of Congress, the Appellate
Court House in New York City, and the Essex County Court House in
Newark, New Jersey for which he used actress Ethel Barrymore as a model.|
a proponent of Classical Realism*, is also remembered for his scathing
written attacks on the New York Armory Show* of 1913, with its
introduction of modernist* art to America. He found the work
"heartrending and sickening" and Cubism* "nothing else than the total
destruction of the art of painting." (Colby)
Cox studied at
the McMicken School of Drawing and Design* in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he
became enamored with the vitality of the work of Mariano Fortuny, and
wanted to go to Paris to study with Fortuny followers. His
parents demurred, and sent him to Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts*
in Philadelphia. Cox considered the Academy instruction stodgy,
and in 1877 he went to Paris.
The Fortuny circle had waned by
that time, and he decided to study with Carolus-Duran, whose vigorous
style had attracted John Singer Sargent, among others. He took
courses with Alexandre Cabanel, and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts*, he
chose to study with Jean-Leon Gerome, whose work, ironically, he had dismissed as
"artless" only two years before.
The World's Columbian
Exposition in Chicago* in 1893 finally provided Cox with an opportunity
to paint murals on a grand scale. It also gave impetus to a much
broader interest in murals for public spaces. From then until
1913, Cox created a series of monumental allegorical murals. He
was also a long-time teacher at the Art Students League* and the
National Academy of Design* and was an art critic, writing for the Nation and Scribner's.
He did much of his writing in Cornish*, New Hampshire where he and his
wife, Louise Howland Cox, were a part of the Art Colony.
Cox died in 1919 of tuberculosis.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Virginia Reed Colby and James B. Atkinson, Footprints of the Past
* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx
|Biography from Blake Benton Fine Art, Artists C - F:|
Cox, painter, sculptor, illustrator, muralist, writer, lecturer,
teacher born in Warren, Ohio, Oct., 27th, 1856. Cox grew up in an
intellectually stimulating environment, which sustained him through a
childhood illness that disrupted his early education. He first studied
art at the McMicken School of Design in Cincinnati. He left his home
state in 1876, Cox then spent a year at the Pennsylvania Academy of
Fine Arts before leaving for Paris, where he stayed for five years,
between 1877 and 1882. He was married to Louise Cox a very talented
illustrator and painter known for her portraits and children, she was
an Associate of the National Academy. |
Cox's first training was
rather diversified, he spent a year in the studio of the portrait
painter Carolus-Duran; he further trained in drawing at the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts under Cabanal; three years in the studio of Gerome.
Throughout his life he sited Gerome as the major influence on his
development, (ironically, he had dismissed Gerome's work as "artless"
only two years before) he continued study with other masters at the
Academie Julian with Bouguereau, Lefebvre, Boulanger, and others.
During his stay in France, Cox exhibited at the Paris Salon. Upon
returning to the United States, in 1882, he became a member of the
Society of American Artists, this organization became his main forum
for exhibiting art from the mid 1880' to the late 1890's. He also
exhibited work at the National Academy of Design during this period.
was a writer who covered a variety of artists including Veronese and
others. He wrote one of the first monographs on the well-known
American artist, Winslow Homer. He and Homer both displayed "A
catholicity" in their works, whose subject matter ranged from ideal
themes to landscape and portraits. "Disenchanted with the literal
transcription of the subject that characterized nineteenth-century
naturalism, Cox sought certain underlying principles that linked all
art, regardless of subject or century." He also authored Mixed
Beasts, Old Masters and New, Painters and Sculptors, and Concerning Painters. The subjects that Cox painted were as varied as
his artistic training.
One standout in his Cox's career was
Portrait of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Cox's homage to his friend Augustus
Saint-Gaudens. This painting was among his most highly admired works, praised not only
for its likeness as a portrait but also for its artful conception. The
original, owned by Saint-Gaudens, was destroyed in the fire in his
studio in 1904; it was replaced by a replica that Cox painted in 1908.
The pictures motif, the artist in his studio, was one of general
interest to American Painters during the 1880's, but most painters
explored the subject's decorative aspect. Cox's rendition was more
innovative, both in conception and execution. The work depicted
Augustus Saint-Gaudens close up, working on a clay relief of the famous
American impressionist William Merritt Chase.
During his career as an artist Cox became known as one of the
preeminent mural painters in the country, and these works are considered
his greatest contribution as an artist. He was one of the most prolific
artists working in the field of mural painting. The Worlds Colombian
Exposition in Chicago in 1893 was where Cox made a name for himself as
a Mural painter. The Exposition afforded Cox the opportunity to paint
murals on a grand scale. His work there brought him much praise; it
also gave impetus to broaden his interest in murals for public spaces.
He went on to do mural work in many of the nations important landmarks
including the Library of Congress; the Minnesota State Capital; Iowa
State Capital; the Appellate Court House in New York City; Bowdoin
College; Essex County Court House; Luzerne County Court House; Rhode
Island School of design; Cleveland Museum; Manhattan Hotel; Oberlin
College; Wisconsin State Capital; National Gallery, Washington, DC;
Hudson County Court house and many others. He won the Medal of Honor
for mural painting at the New York Architectural League in 1909, a
coveted prize for a muralist of the time.
He was also known
for genre, portraits, rivers, bathers, nudes, objects and illustrations
for books and magazines. Cox was elected an associate member of National
Academy of Design, 1900; Academician, 1903; Society of American Artists
of New York; New York Architectural League; National Institute of Arts
and Letters; American Academy of Arts and Letters; Fellowship of the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Art Students' League; Lotus Club, and
others. Additionally his easel work can be found in numerous important
public and private collections.
He died in New York City March 17th,
Blake Benton Fine Art
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Kenyon Cox is also mentioned in these AskART essays: