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 William Henry Furness, Jr.  (1827 - 1867)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Pennsylvania / Europe      Known for: crayon and oil portraiture

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of young Lady in Gold Dress
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
William Henry Furness Jr. , known for portraiture, grew up in cultured circumstances in Philadelphia. His father, William Henry Furness (1802-1896), was a graduate of Harvard University and Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia. A fiery abolitionist and supporter of civil rights and education for all, he was in circles of liberal intellectuals including close friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson. In addition to William Jr., his other children reflected the stimulation of the family environment: Horace Furnace became a Shakespearean scholar; Frank Furness, an architect; and Annis Furness, an author and translator.

William Jr. showed early art talent and encouraged by his father, worked to get educated in Philadelphia and then Boston, where he was settled by 1850.  Initially he worked exclusively in crayon and became popular among prominent person for his crayon portraits.  In 1852, he began several years studying abroad, including enrollment at the Dusseldorf Academy* with Emanuel Leutze.  He also visited Venice, Munich and Dresden.

By 1864, he had set up a studio in the Studio Building, Boston*, and there became a good friend of Elihu Vedder. Although Furness lived primarily in Boston, he spent much time working in Philadelphia where he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy* and the 1874 Centennial Exposition*.

His first entry in National Academy of Design exhibitions was in 1860, but his last name was misspelled as Furnace. He continued to exhibit, mostly oil portraits, until his death in 1867.

David Dearinger, Editor, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collections of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925
Wikipedia, William Henry Furness,

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