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 Cornelius Ver Bryck  (1813 - 1844)

About: Cornelius Ver Bryck


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Lived/Active: New York/Alabama/New Jersey      Known for: landscape, history and portrait painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An artist highly regarded by his contemporaries but whose career was cut short by his death at age 31, Cornelius Ver Bryck has been largely forgotten with passing time.  He was active in New York City in the early 19th century and was brother-in-law of the well known Daniel Huntington with whom he became close friends from the time he and Huntington had both studied with Samuel F.B. Morse.  

Ver Bryck had chronic illness, likely tuberculosis, and began his career in New York City, but then had to leave for his health and went to Alabama, 1837 to 1838, living mostly in Mobile.  In 1839, seemingly improved, he went to Europe with Huntington and Henry Peters Gray, a student of Huntington's.  Returning to New York City, he suffered deteriorating health. In 1843 when it was clear his life was ebbing, he decided to go to Europe and was accompanied by Huntington and his wife and also by Mrs. Huntington's sister, whom Ver Bryck married just before sailing.   The couples toured England during the fall, and then returned to New York where Ver Bryck spent the final year of his life.

Having been elected as an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1936 and to full membership in 1841, he was officially eulogized at the Academy with Thomas Cole composing the tribute, a testimony to the friendship of these two men. 

As part of the Tribute, Cole wrote that Ver Bryck's "love of the beautiful was the law of his being" and referring to Ver Bryck's attempts to make a living by portrait painting, wrote: "Portrait painting, frequently the last anchor of the artist, which he casts out when all others have failed, was not to him lucrative . . . and stole from him precious moments which ought to have been employed in embodying the creations of his poetical mind.  . . .He was of all men the least fitted for the portrait painter.  . . . His landscapes, which were simple productions, views or compositions sketching Nature in her tranquil moments, as well as his historical pictures too frequently remained without a purchaser.  The high qualities of his works, which ought to have brought him encouragement and profit, were passed unnoticed by the multitude." (305)

David Dearinger, Editor, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925

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