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 John Edwin Forbes  (1839 - 1895)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: Civil War magazine illustration and painting, genre, landscape

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Ad Code: 3
Edwin Austin Forbes
from Auction House Records.
Union Supply Wagon
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New York City, John Edwin Forbes became a Civil War reportorial artist for Leslie's Illustrated newspaper, joining the staff at age 22 in 1861.  He was attached to the Army of the Potomac, and was one of the youngest and one of the few artists who covered the entire war.  Most of his illustrations were of the daily life of the soldiers, but he also depicted battle scenes including the Second Battle of Bull Run, and Hooker's Charge at Antiedam.

He used many of his pencil sketches for large paintings after the War and from them, did a series of detailed etchings, which he published in 1891 as Thirty Years After: An Artist's Story of the Great War.  A weekly series, published by Army Life Publishing Co. 47 East Tenth Street, NY began April 5, 1894.  It was a large format 10"x 14"; paging runs consecutively from No. 1 forward.  It is a written history with about 300 illustrations by Edwin Forbes, who also copyrighted the publication. 

As a young man, Forbes was a student of Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, and from 1861 to 1882, he exhibited at the National Academy of Design.  Originally he started his career as an animal painter and then did some genre and landscape, but after the Civil War, drew primarily upon his sketches from that period for his paintings and etchings. 

He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000 by Walt Reed
Who Was Who in American Art by Peter Falk
Additional information courtesy of Ada L. Fitzsimmons, research historian and Benjamin Gilbert Forbes, grandson of the artist.

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Civil War Art

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