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 George F. Fuller  (1822 - 1884)

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

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Ad Code: 3
George Fuller
from Auction House Records.
The American Ship "Mollie" Standing Off
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
From a poor farming family in Deerfield, Massachusetts, George Fuller worked a variety of jobs while showing much talent as a portrait painter. He became interested in painting in 1841, when he accompanied his deaf-mute younger brother, Augustus Fuller (1812-1873) on a painting trip through western New York.

Pursuing this new interest, he studied in the Albany studio of sculptor Henry Kirke Brown from 1841 to 1842, and then enrolled for two winters at the Boston Artists' Association while farming during the summers.  He also studied with his aunt, Carolyn Negus, in Boston where he shared a studio with a cousin, Jonas Holland Howe.

In 1847, Fuller moved to New York City where he enrolled at the National Academy of Design and lived primarily for the next decade. He also traveled to Philadelphia, Mobile and Montgomery doing portraits. 

From 1860, after a brief tour of Europe where he studied Old Master paintings, he operated the family farm for fifteen years at Deerfield, Massachusetts, and occasionally painted landscapes. But the farm failed, and he established himself in Boston as a successful painter of portraits and landscapes.

He had his first exhibition in Boston in 1875, and was praised for his Barbizon-style, brown-toned landscapes.

Sources include:
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Memorial Hall Museum:
George Fuller (1822-1884) first studied with artist Henry Kirke Brown in Albany, New York.  At various times during the 1840's and 1850's he maintained studios in Boston and New York and went on several portrait painting excursions to Georgia and Alabama.  In 1843, George Fuller was elected a member of the Boston Artists' Association, and in 1854, he was elected Associate of the National Academy of Design.

Following the death of his father Aaron in 1859, George Fuller toured Europe for six months before returning to The Bars Homestead in Deerfield, Massachusetts to assume the responsibilities of the family farm.  In 1861, he married Agnes Gordon Higginson (1838-1924) and devoted himself to farming and their children, George Spencer, Robert, Henry, Agnes and Arthur.

Inspired by his rural surroundings and the paintings he had viewed in Europe, George continued painting during his years as a farmer.  In 1876, he collected his paintings for an exhibition in Boston.  A successful response to his work encouraged George Fuller to devote more time to his painting.  The work produced during this period was painted with subdued coloration and atmospheric effects, and depicted young, ethereal females or rural scenes aligned with the Barbizon School. Fuller was hailed "The Millet of America" after French Barbizon artist Jean Francois Millet, and he soon found himself with a burgeoning circle of new admirers.

In 1880, Fuller was elected a member of the Society of American Artists.  When George Fuller died at age 62, he was at the height of his career.  In recognition of his talents, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts held "A Memorial Exhibition of the Works of George Fuller" in 1884, which included one hundred and seventy-five paintings.

Many of his paintings were acquired by art museums, notably By the Wayside-The Dandelion Girl, 1877; and Negro Funeral, 1881-1884 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Quadroon, 1880 at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Winifred Dysart, 1881, Worcester Art Museum; Fedalma, 1883-1884, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; and Examination of Witnesses in a Trial for Witchcraft, 1884, The Art Institute of Chicago.  In 1923, The Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted the "Centennial Exhibition of the Works of George Fuller."

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