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 Henry Lewis  (1819 - 1904)

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Lived/Active: Missouri / England/Germany      Known for: landscape, town views and still life painting, panoramas

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Ad Code: 3
Henry Lewis
from Auction House Records.
Italian Park Landscape in the Evening Light
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in England, Henry Lewis emigrated at age ten to Boston in 1829 with his father and brothers and apprenticed to a carpenter.  Seven years later, he and his father moved to St. Louis, Missouri where Henry worked as a carpenter and scenery painter at the St. Louis Theatre.  Soon he had a local reputation for the skill of his landscape paintings and also for the inception of a moving panorama, 12 feet high and 1300 feet long, accompanied by an illustrated book of the Mississippi River.  It was published in 1854 with the title of Das illustrierte Mississiippithal (The Valley of the Mississippi River Illustrated) and contained 78 plates from his own sketches.

In 1846, in preparation for this project, he began sketching the river.  In Minnesota at Fort Snelling, he met Seth Eastman from whom he bought sketches to convert into lithographs.  In 1848, Henry Lewis established a studio in Cincinnati, and with several assistants painted a panorama, which he exhibited around the United States between 1849 and 1851.  For the next decade, he toured the panorama in Europe, generating especially large audiences in Germany and Holland.  While in England, he served as General Manager of the Crystal Palace Exhibition, held 1851 in Hyde Park, London.  The purpose of the Exhibition was to display worldwide examples of 'progress' from the Industrial Revolution.

Selling the panorama to a Dutch planter, Henry Lewis settled in Dusseldorf in 1853, got married and remained there for the rest of his life.  He continued to paint scenes and exhibit in America from 1867 to 1884, and also sold paintings to persons in Mississippi River towns.  He served as Consular Agent, visiting America in 1881.

Written by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier


Barbara Novak, Nineteenth-Century American Painting: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, p. 319

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art, p. 2014

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