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 Jonathan Scott Hartley  (1845 - 1912)

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Lived/Active: New York/New Jersey      Known for: allegorical figure sculpture, anatomy teaching

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Ad Code: 3
Jonathan Scott Hartley
from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jonathan Scott Hartley (September 23, 1845–1912), American sculptor, was born at Albany, New York. He studied early at the Albany Academy and worked in a local marble yard, cutting tombstones. He was a pupil of Erastus Dow Palmer in New York, having been encouraged by Charles Calverley, also an assistant of Palmer's.  In 1866, Hartley went to London and attended the schools of the Royal Academy of London* and in that city continued to support himself as a tombstone cutter.  Encouraged by winning a silver medal at the Academy in 1869, he went to Berlin, Germany for a year and then and spent time in Paris.  By 1870, he was back in New York City, where he set up a sculpture studio and living with his brother, Joseph, had a 'bohemian' artist lifestyle.

He became a part of an informal group of young artists that held their first meeting in Hartley's studio and then, dubbing themselves "The Sketch Class", met regularly to sketch an agreed-upon-subject. In 1877, at Hartley's suggestion, they named themselves the Salmagundi Club. Joseph Hartley served as the first president, a term which lasted until 1888. Jonathan served as President from 1903 to 1905.

From 1873 to 1875, he returned to Europe, spending time in Rome and Paris, and in 1776, exhibited his work, The Young Samaritan, at the Centennial Exposition* in Philadelphia. His first work which received much public attention and also caused controversy because of its violently swirling drapery was The Whirlwind, shown in the 1878 exhibition of the National Academy of Design.  However, with that entry, submitted at a time when academic figure work was static, many viewers acknowledged that its sculptor had obvious talent. Much positive attention and commissions followed.

Among his works are Miles Morgan, the Puritan completed in 1882 for Springfield, Massachusetts; Daguerre Memorial in Washington; Thomas K. Beecher, Elmira, New York, and Alfred the Great, Appellate Court House, New York. He devoted himself particularly to the making of portrait busts, in which he attained high rank and showed special interest in actors in roles for which they were famous such as Ada Rehan as Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew (c.1900) or Otis Skinner as Skylock (c.1905).

He sculpted three of the nine busts around the front of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. His Nathaniel Hawthorne, often mistaken for Mark Twain, is in the ornate west front gallery of the original Library of Congress building, finished in 1897. He also sculpted portrait busts of Washington Irving and the Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Emerson bust is thought to be an exact likeness, with Hartley credited for especially capturing the likeness of Emerson's prominent nose.

In 1877, Hartley became the first lecturer of the newly established Art Students League, and he continued on the faculty until 1884, and in 1879 became its first President. Specializing in Anatomy study, he served as a teacher at the National Academy of Design from 1897 to 1908. In 1881 he had become a member of the National Academy of Design, where he had begun exhibiting in 1870, and where in 1877, he had exhibited his portrait bust of painter George Inness.

In 1879, Hartley married Rosa Bonheur Inness, daughter of George Inness, but tragedy followed the next year when the bride died.  However, Hartley remained close to the family and in 1888, he married Rosa's sister, Helen. Shortly after he and other members of the Inness family including George Inness moved to Montclair, New Jersey. 

David B. Dearinger, Painting and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, Volume One, 1826-1925.

"Jonathan Scott Hartley", Wikipedia, (Accessed 6/6/2013)

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jonathan Scott Hartley, a late nineteenth century sculptor, helped influence the newly developing artistic center of Montclair, New Jersey. Hartley, son-in-law to the famous landscape painter George Inness, was born in Albany, New York and was first employed in a marble monument yard. It wasn't until later that he was able to work in a studio with one of the most famous neo- classical American artists of the day, Erastus Dow Palmer. Hartley then went abroad, spending most of his time in London, Berlin, and Paris, where he studied the great sculptors. He returned to New York in 1875, and soon produced his acclaimed piece The Whirlwind, in 1878.

After his marriage to Helen Inness in 1888, Hartley moved to Montclair, where he continued to work as a sculptor. The Hartleys lived next to the great landscape painter in a reconstructed farmhouse, connected to the Inness house by a covered passage. There was a large studio on the grounds which was used by both the painter and his sculptor son-in-law.(1) At this time his focus was on the production of portrait busts, many of them actors portraying their most famous roles.

Toward the end of his life Hartley returned to New York, where he died in 1912.

The Whirlwind is a very successful example of Hartley's earlier work. This piece, a departure from the bust-length portraits for which he is best known, is a gracefully twisting bronze figure of a woman. It was this piece that swept Hartley into artistic success.

Hartley's passion for sculpture was expressed through his many famous busts, including one of his father-in-law, George Inness. Hartley was in his own time considered one of the finest portrait sculptors in the country, technically superb, with an emphasis upon virility and character and yet a great deal of sympathy towards his subjects.(1) He was commissioned to create portrait busts for many noteworthy individuals, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

(1) William H. Gerdts, Painting and Sculpture in New Jersey (Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1964), pp.189-190.

Dana E. Stoy, "Jonathan Scott Hartley", Art & Architecture of New Jersey, (Accessed 6/5/2013)

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