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 Fernand Harvey Lungren  (1857 - 1932)

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Lived/Active: California/New York/Maryland      Known for: views-street-Indian, illustrator

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Ad Code: 3
Fernand Harvey Lungren
from Auction House Records.
Mesa Land Sunset
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, Fernand Lungren became a painter and illustrator of Southwest desert and Indian ceremonial scenes as well as desert landscape and Indians subjects of that time, especially ceremonies of the Navajo, Apaches, and Hopis. His best known painting is "Thirst", 1896, a dying man with a dead horse, and published in "Harper's Weekly," it attracted much attention nationwide.

He was raised in Toledo, Ohio and attended the University of Maryland but, not liking formal education, was influenced by artist Kenyon Cox to quit college to paint. He studied art in Cincinnati, in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Thomas Eakins, and in Paris at the Academy Julian.

At age 20, he became a magazine illustrator in New York City, working for "Scribner's Monthly," "Harper's," and "Century." His specialty was city streets and the lighting effects at night. He also studied in Paris at the Academy Julian and after that settled in Cincinnati where he met western painters Henry Farny and Joseph Sharp who encouraged him to paint in the West as they had done.

In 1892, hired by the Santa Fe Railroad, he went to New Mexico where he spent eight months in the Santa Fe area sketching at the nearby pueblos. In 1893, he went to Arizona and spent several months with the Hopis who made him a priest of a fraternity. When he returned to Cincinnati with paintings of the Southwest, viewers had little appreciation of the subject matter, and he did not receive recognition until much later.

In 1903, he moved to California, and for the remaining twenty-nine years of his life settled in Santa Barbara, where he helped found the Santa Barbara Art School and left much of his work to Santa Barbara State College.

Source: Artists in California, 1786-1940, by Edan Hughes

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Carmel:
Fernand Lungren was born in Maryland and raised in Toledo, Ohio. Having shown early promise in painting, Lungren studied briefly in Cincinnati before moving on to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

After a brief stint as an illustrator in New York, Lungren continued his studies in Paris at the Academie Julien. Eventually moving back to Cincinnati, Lungren followed the lead of fellow locals J.H. Sharp and Henry Farny by painting western theme scenes.

In 1892, fortune smiled on Lungren when he was hired by the Santa Fe Railway to sketch along its route. This trip triggered a love for southwest subject matter that would remain with him for the rest of his life.

From 1892-1932, Lungren’s works were almost exclusively devoted to Native American life and folklore.

Biography from Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site:
Fernand Harvey Lungren was a painter and illustrator who was born on November 13, 1859 in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Lungren grew up in Toledo, Ohio and showed artistic promise at the age of seven.  When he was nineteen he met artist Kenyon Cox who encouraged him to pursue art as a career.  After studying briefly in Cincinnati, he moved to Philadelphia where he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, to study under Thomas Eakins.

He began his career in New York City, as an illustrator for Scribner's Magazine, and later contributed illustrations for several other magazines such as Harper's, St. Nicholas and Century.  His subject matter in New York was mostly night effects on city street scenes.  He furthered his art training in Paris at Acadèmie Julian for two years, and then returned to Cincinnati, which was an active art center.  

Local artists J.H. Sharp and Henry Farny, whom Lungren had met, had already adopted western and Indian subjects for their artwork, and through their example, Lungren decided to do likewise.  Opportunity came when the Santa Fe Railway hired him to sketch scenes along its route.  In 1893, he went west and spent eight months in Santa Fe visiting the Indian pueblos and the next year spent several months with the Hopis in Arizona.  He eventually was made a member of several Indian tribes and priest-hoods.

His most famous illustration, Thirst, which depicted a dying man and a dead horse, was published in 1896 in Harper's Weekly and caused quite a sensation across the United States.  The subjects of his work from 1892 until his death forty years later were almost exclusively Indian ceremonies and folklore of the Moquis, Hopi, Navajo and Apache, the Southwestern desert and Sierra landscapes.  In 1900 a series of his paintings was reproduced and widely sold.

About 1905, Lungren moved to Los Angeles, and in 1907 he settled permanently in Santa Barbara.  He helped found the Santa Barbara School of Art and was active with that school until his death there on November 9, 1932.  Upon his death many of his paintings and Indian artifacts were willed to the Santa Barbara State College.  His illustrations in his California period were black and white.  Lungren distinguished between these illustrations left with the publishers and his "artwork" he sold to friends.

His works have been included in many art exhibitions and galleries including the American Watercolor Society in New York, Kennedy Galleries in New York, Montana Historical Society in Helena and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  The publications in which his artwork is included are numerous.  His artwork is held in the collections of Earl C. Adams, Santa Barbara State College, The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; and the Stenzel collection, to name a few.


Dykes, Jeff.  Fifty Great Western Illustrators:  A Bibliographic Checklist.  U.S.: Northland Press.  1975.

Falk, Peter Hastings.  Who Was Who in American Art.  Connecticut: Sound View Press.  1985.  

Hughes, Edan Milton.  Artists in California:  1786-1940.  San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Company.  1986.

Lungren, Fernand Harvey.  Fernand Lungren: A Biography. ____________.

Samuels, Peggy and Harold.  Samuels' Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West.  New Jersey: Castle.  1985.

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Fernand Lungren is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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