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 William Henry Drake  (1856 - 1926)

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Lived/Active: New York/California      Known for: animal, figure, genre, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
William Henry Drake
from Auction House Records.
Katzen (Felidiae): Studienblatt mit diversen Katzenarten.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings:
American, 1856-1926

William Drake, born in New York in 1856, studied painting in Paris at the Academie Julian with Benjamin Constant and Doucet, both of whom were Orientalist painters. His style and subject matter were greatly influenced by the trends in European painting at the time.

Upon returning from Europe, he studied at the Cincinnati School of Design, and would often go to the zoo in that city, where he could draw the animals first hand. He was briefly employed by the Museum of Natural History, where he did some illustrational work.  He also studied at the Art Student’s League in New York City. Drake’s work was widely reproduced in the Century and Harper's magazines.  In 1902, Drake was made an associate member of the National Academy of Design.

Drake illustrated The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling when it was first published in 1894.  His specialty of subject matter became wild animals, particularly wild cats, which he portrayed with tenderness and endowed with almost “human” characteristics. His painting Masters of the Jungle was exhibited at the National Academy in 1919.  Drake was the only American artist of the time to specialize in the portrayal of wild animals in the great tradition of Gerome and Delacroix.

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Painter, illustrator.  Born in New York City on June 4, 1856.  Drake studied at Académie Julian under Constant and Doucet.  He illustrated Kipling's Jungle Book and specialized in animal paintings.

A resident of New York City until about 1920, he then settled in Los Angeles where he remained until his death on Jan. 23, 1926.

Member: ANA; American WC Society; NY WC Club; Salmagundi Club.

AAA 1898-1926; WWA 1918; FId; AAW; Ben; Art News, 1-3-1926 (obit).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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