Henry Bacon (painter)

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Henry Bacon
Signature of Henry A. Bacon, 1897.jpg
Signature of Henry Bacon
Education Walter Gay; National School of Fine Arts, Paris
Known forPainting and illustration
Movement Orientalist
Henry Bacon's 1890 painting Étretat

Henry Bacon (1839 – 13 March 1912) was an American painter and author.

Life and career

Henry A. Bacon was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1839. [1] During the American Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army on 16 July 1861 [2] and acted as a field artist for Frank Leslie's Weekly while he served as a soldier within the 13th Massachusetts Infantry. Badly wounded at Bull Run, he was discharged on 19 December 1862. [2]

After the war, he studied art with Walter Gay, who suggested that he travel to Paris to undertake a formal art education. In 1864, he went to Paris, with his first wife Elizabeth Lord, to study figure painting. He was admitted to the National School of Fine Arts and was one of Alexandre Cabanel's scholars. He went also to Brittany and passing through Pont-Aven, he fell in love with the place. Back in Paris, he mentioned the place to his friends painters. He is credited to have been the first painter from a long group of painters to come to Pont-Aven including Paul Gauguin. This period is known nowadays as the Pont-Aven School.

He exhibited at the salon from 1868 through to 1896 with genre works which had found favour with the American market. He also worked as a journalist sending reports of events in Paris to the Boston Daily Evening Transcript. In 1897, he travelled to Egypt for the first time and began regularly spending Winters there. At that time, he switched from oils to watercolours which he believed was the optimal medium to capture the transparent light of the Middle East. [3]

Bacon died of a heart attack in Cairo, Egypt, in 1912.

Selected works

  • The Tourist and the Fisherwoman, 1870
  • Goodbye, Oil on Canvas, 1877
  • Hauling a Ship, Oil on Canvas, 1877
  • On Shipboard, Oil on Canvas, 1877
  • Land! Oil on Canvas, 1877
  • First Sight of Land, Oil on Canvas, 1877
  • The Departure, Oil on Canvas, 1879
  • Along the Seine, Oil on Canvas, 1879
  • Beach at Etretat, Oil on Canvas, 1881
  • The Parthenon, East Facade, Watercolour, n.d.
  • Theatre of Dionysus, Watercolour, n.d.
  • A Street in Cairo, Watercolour, 1905



  • "Henry Bacon papers, 1849-1931". Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  • Ackerman, Gerald M. (1994). American Orientalists. ACR Édition. pp. 14–15. ISBN  978-2-86770-078-1.
  1. ^ "HENRY BACON DIES IN EGYPT.; American Water Color Painter Noted for His Normandy Scenes". The New York Times. March 14, 1912.
  2. ^ a b "13th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Rooster 1861-1864". Three Years in the Army, Charles E. Davis Jr., Boston 1894. Archived from the original on 21 September 2004. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  3. ^ Ackerman, G.M., American Orientalists, ACR, 1994, p.14

External links