Alvan Fisher - Encyclopedia




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ALVAN FISHER (1792-1863), American portrait-painter, was born at Needham, Massachusetts, on the 9th of August 1792. At the age of eighteen he was a clerk in a country shop, and subsequently was employed by the village house painter, but at the age of twenty-two he began to paint portrait heads, alternating with rural scenes and animals, for which he found patrons at modest prices. In ten years he had saved enough to go to Europe, studying at the Paris schools and copying in the galleries of the Louvre. Upon his return he became one of the recognized group of Massachusetts portrait-painters. Along with Doughty, Harding and Alexander, in 1831, he held an exhibition of his work in Boston - perhaps the first joint display by painters ever held in that city. Though he had considerable talent for landscape, a lack of patronage for such work caused him to confine himself to portraiture, in which he was moderately successful. He died at Dedham, Mass., on the 16th of February 1863.

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