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Biography Resource Center
Quidor, John; 1801-81
Crane Pursued by Horseman (1828)
John Quidor was born in 1801 in
Tappan, New York
. At age nine, John and his family moved to
New York City
. While with his family in New York City, John was able to study the arts and painting with
. However Quidor filed a lawsuit against Jarvis, accusing Jarvis of not being able to complete Quidor's training in portrait paintings. John Quidor began his career as a painter in 1823 where he was painting tavern signs, parade pennants, and fire engines. This lasted until 1828 when he moved to a farm in
. Also in 1828, Quidor sent his first actual painting to the
National Academy of Design
. It was a picture portraying a scene from Washington Irving's
A Sketch Book
. It was called
Ichabod Crane Pursued By Headless Horseman
. This was the first piece that truly showed Quidor's mature painting style that he has become renown for. It is this painting style that has earned him the rank among some of the greatest early American painters.
The Return of Rip Van Winkle (1829)
Further Information and Works
During his own time John Quidor wasn't much appreciated, however, now he is considered among one of the best early American painters. He was
a personal friend of
, whose works inspired many of Quidor's paintings. In fact 17 out of Quidor's 35 total paintings displayed scen
es inspired by Washington Irving's writing. Quidor's first painting that truly showed his mature painting style
was Ichabod Crane Pursued by Headless
. It was created in 1828 depicting a scene from Washington Irving's
A Sketch Book
and is currently on display at the first of many paintings inspired by Irving's works. The book
A History of New York
also written by Irving, inspired 4 more of Quidor's paintings. The first painting inspired by this book was
Dancing on the Battery
created in 1860. The next painting inspired by that book was
Peter Stuyvesant's Wall Street Gate
created in 1864. The last two paintings inspired by Irving's book were
Voyage of the Good Oloff up the Hudson
The Voyage from Communipaw to Hell Gate.
Both these paintings were created in 1866. All these pieces have pleasant colors, poetic imagination and adolescent humor. John Quidor used other literary works in his paintings other than Irving. These include
Miguel de Cervantes’s
James Fenimore Cooper’s
. He also has three paintings which are represented in the
, these include
Dorothea, Money Diggers,
He has also been known to paint religious objects and scenes. An example of this includes
lessing the Stick.
The majority of his paintings are on a large scale.
Gold Diggers (1832)
Later in Life and Death
By his mid 30's he was married to Eliza Jane Henkins with whom he had two children. In 1844 he made a deal to paint 7 religious paintings in exchange for a 520-acre farm. Quidor wa s never able to complete the paintings and the plan fell through. Because of this incident him and his family moved back to New York in 1849. Returning to New York is when he began painting his more mature pictures. He continued painting in New York until 1668, when Quidor and his wife decided to move to
New Jersey so that they would be able to live with his daughter. He remained in Jersey City until his death in 1881. When he died him and his family where very poor.
Lasting Impact on History
Although John was never truly appreciated during his own time period, he is now considered one of the founding fathers of American art. Up until this point much of the art created in America had British references, however, Quidor purposefully tried to stay away from a traditional British painting style. He only painted pictures which showed American landscapes or depicting scenes from American literature. This helped create a greater sense of nationalism for American because it was one of the first times where America was being portrayed in art.
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