Elihu Vedder was born February 26, 1836 in New York City
, the son of Dr. Elihu Vedder Sr. and Elizabeth Vedder.
His parents were cousins. His father, a dentist, decided to try his luck in Cuba, and this had a profound impact on Elihu Jr.'s childhood. The remainder of his childhood was spent between his maternal grandfather Alexander Vedder's house in Schenectady and a boarding school. His mother supported his goals to be an artist while his father reluctantly assented, convinced that his son should try a different occupation. His brother, Dr. Alexander Madison Vedder, was a Navy surgeon who witnessed the transformation of Japan into a modern culture while he was stationed there.
Vedder trained in New York City with Tompkins H. Matteson
, then in Paris
with François-Édouard Picot
. Finally, he completed his studies in Italy - where he was strongly influenced not only by Italian Renaissance
work but also by the modern Macchiaioli
painters and the living Italian landscape.
He first visited Italy
from 1858 until 1860, becoming deeply emotionally attached to fellow painter Giovanni Costa
. Their idyllic trips through the Italian countryside were cut short because Vedder's father cut off his financial allowance.
Dancing Girl, oil on canvas, 1871. Reynolds House Museum of American Art
Penniless, Vedder returned to the United States during the American Civil War
and made a small living undertaking commercial illustrations. He was involved in the bohemian 'Pfaff's' coffee house group and painted some of his most memorable paintings notable for their visionary nature, romantic imagery and often Oriental influences. Paintings of this time include 'The Roc's Egg', 'The Fisherman and the Genii' and one of his most famous works, 'Lair of the Sea Serpent.' In the United States, Vedder sought out and befriended Walt Whitman
, Herman Melville
and William Morris Hunt
. Vedder became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
in 1865. At the end of the Civil War, Vedder left America to live in Italy.
He married Caroline Rosekrans on July 13, 1869 in Glen Falls, New York
. Elihu Vedder and his wife had four children, only two of whom survived. His daughter Anita Herriman Vedder played a vital role in handling the business of her father, who was notorious for his general aloofness towards details. Elihu's son Enoch Rosekrans Vedder was a promising architect who married jewelry designer Angela Reston. Enoch died while visiting his parents in Italy on April 2, 1916. Elihu had a home in Rome
and - after the financial success of his 1884 Rubaiyat
work - on the Isle of Capri
, then a haven for male aesthetes.
commissioned him to design glassware, mosaics
and statuettes for the company. He decorated the hallway of the Reading Room of the Washington Library of Congress
, and his mural paintings can still be seen there.
Vedder occasionally returned to the United States, but lived only in Italy from 1906 until his death on January 29, 1923. He is buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome
. There are no known living descendants of Elihu Vedder as both surviving children died without issue.
The Questioner of the Sphinx (1863)
The Sun God (1882)
The Pleiades (1885)
Mural, Lobby to Main Reading Room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Main figure is seated atop a pedestal saying "CORRUPT LEGISLATION".
Government. Mural, Lobby to Main Reading Room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Main figure is seated atop a pedestal ("GOVERNMENT") holding a tablet with "A GOVERNMENT / OF THE PEOPLE / BY THE PEOPLE / FOR THE PEOPLE".
Peace and Prosperity (1896)
Minerva, 1896 (preparatory study)
Minerva, 1896 (mosaic at the Library of Congress
) with Nil invita Minerva, quae monumentum aere perennius exegit from Horace's Ars Poetica
- ^ "Vedder, Elihu". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. pp. 1796–1797.
- ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Vedder, Elihu" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 964–965.
- ^ Stevens, Revalee R. & Robert Kim: North American Records: The Protestant Cemetery of Rome. Oracle Press, 1981
- ^ http://www.phxart.org/exhibitions/b1ba1c8e-0596-4cbb-bd21-0e054707ef39
- Soria, Regina (1970). Elihu Vedder: American Visionary Artist in Rome. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. ISBN 0-8386-6906-9.
- Taylor, Joshua C. (1979). Perceptions and Evocations: The Art of Elihu Vedder. Smithsonian Books. ISBN 0-87474-902-6.
- Vedder, Elihu (1910). The Digressions of V. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
- Vedder, Elihu (January 1910). "Reminiscences Of An American Painter I: Art Education Fifty Years Ago". The World's Work: A History of Our Time. XIX: 12459–12470. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Vedder, Elihu (February 1910). "Reminiscences Of An American Painter II: Florentine Years In Retrospect". The World's Work: A History of Our Time. XIX: 12559–12570. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Vedder, Elihu (March 1910). "Reminiscences Of An American Painter III: New York In War Time". The World's Work: A History of Our Time. XIX: 12684–12694. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Vedder, Elihu (April 1910). "Reminiscences Of An American Painter Last Article: Paris and Rome". The World's Work: A History of Our Time. XIX: 12815–12824. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Vedder, Elihu (1914). Miscellaneous Moods in Verse: One Hundred and One Poems with Illustrations. Boston: Porter E. Sargent.
- Vedder, Elihu (1922). Doubt and Other Things. Boston: Porter E. Sargent.
Last edited on 29 April 2021, at 18:44
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