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 Stephen William Shaw  (1817 - 1900)

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Lived/Active: California/Vermont      Known for: portrait, lithographer

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Ad Code: 4
Stephen William Shaw
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of Child
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Portrait painter. Born on a farm near Windsor, VT on Dec. 15, 1817.

Shaw was a self-taught painter. In his early twenties he taught penmanship and drawing at an academy in Norwich, VT and later served as director and art teacher at the Boston Athenaeum. After 1842 he was active as an itinerant portraitist in the South. He fulfilled several commissions in Baton Rouge and New Orleans before joining the Gold Rush to California. He and his brother Seth made the trek via the Isthmus of Panama. Arriving in San Francisco in August 1849, he mined for a few months before returning to art. He then moved to Sacramento where E. B. Crocker became his patron. He subsequently painted more than 25 portraits of Californians for Crocker. Shaw was a member of the 1850 expedition that discovered Humboldt Bay (he briefly homesteaded in that area with his brother). In 1852 he established a studio in San Francisco and was much sought after as a portraitist. He painted over 200 portraits of Masonic officers and was asked by President Lincoln to paint the likeness of Colonel Baker after he was killed at Balls Bluff. He is the artist of a lithograph of General Vallejos home in Sonoma which was published circa 1857 by Kuchel & Dresel. Shaw died in San Francisco on Feb. 14, 1900. Member: Bohemian Club; SFAA (1st vice-pres.).

Exh: Mechanics Inst. (SF), 1857-96; Calif. State Fair,1860, 1870 (gold medal); Calif. Art Union, 1865; SFAA, 187398; Newhall & Co. (SF), 1874; Calif. Midwinter Fair, 1894. In: Bohemian Club; Crocker Museum (Sacramento); Humboldt Co. Historical Society; Sutter Museum; Society of Calif. Pioneers; OHS. 11 JVN; Ben; Humboldt Historian, June 1979; G&W; Sam; AAA 1898 (picture of Shaw on p. 519), 1900 (obit); SF Examiner, 2-16-1900 (obit).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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