Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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IRVING, John Beaufain, artist, born in Charleston, South Carolina, 26 November, 1825; died in New York city, 20 April, 1877. He was educated at Charleston college, and undertook the management of the family estate. He went to New York city to study painting in 1847, but after a few months returned discouraged to his home. In 1851 he went to Dusseldorf, where he became the pupil of Leutze. He remained in that city four years, and while there executed a large picture representing "Sir Thomas More taking Leave of his Daughter on the Way to his Execution." On his return to Charleston he painted portraits, but did not follow art as a profession until after the close of the civil war, when, having lost his fortune, he removed to New York city. He painted genre pictures, which attracted attention by their spirited composition, richness of coloring, and elaborate finish. His refined style, careful manipulation of the brush, and brilliant scheme of color, suggested, without imitating, the Dusseldorf school, and caused him to be compared later to Meissonier. He carried his art to a degree of minute elaboration beyond any other American painter, but was less happy in the treatment of historical subjects than in genre. In 1867 he exhibited at the Academy of design "The Splinter" and " The Disclosure." "Wine-Tasters," exhibited in 1S69, secured his election as an associate of the National academy. In 1871 he sent a full-length portrait of Mrs. August Belmont. "The End of the Game," exhibited in 1872, established his reputation, and in that year he was chosen a full member of the academy. In 1874 he exhibited "A Musketeer of the Seventeenth Century" and "The Bookworm," and in 1875 "Cardinal Wolsey and his Friends," which, with "The End of the Game," was sent to the Centennial exhibition in 1876. The same year he painted" King" Henry VIII. Merry-making." He sent to the academy in 1876 "Off the Track." and in 1877 "A Banquet at Hampton Court in the Sixteenth Century." "The Last Rally "is one of his best pictures. His "Connoisseurs" was exhibited at the Paris exposition of 1878. His last work was "Cardinal Richelieu and Julie in the Garden of the Tuileries."
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