By Darla McCammon
We have discussed art surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday for many years now as the season approaches.
One artist we have not introduced to you is Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. There was another artist in those days with the name Jean Leon Gerome for whom our subject today was named. Gerome was greatly admired by the family of this new little baby boy. Thus, the son, born Aug. 18, 1863, into an artistic family, which included his father, Stephen James Ferris — a portrait artist, and two famous uncles, Edward and Thomas Moran, was given the lengthy name. Inevitably, young Ferris was encouraged to paint from a very early age.
Philadelphia, where Ferris was born, offered excellent opportunities for artists. His family saw to it that Ferris was enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts when he was only 16.
Further training at the Académie Julian increased his skill. During that time, he met his namesake Gerome, and was greatly encouraged by him. Gerome remarked about his talent along with noting the young man had a strong interest in history. This encouragement led Ferris to paint many scenes of American history. Ferris became very successful as his talent matured and developed. Ferris gained a reputation as a painter of historical subjects and it became his dream to create a series of works that reflected a narrative of many of the famous moments in history. His work was remarkable in aptly and correctly portraying not only the activity taking place in the scene but the housing, buildings, attire and surroundings that would have been in place at the event.
His dream was realized when the complete series was exhibited in Philadelphia at Independence Hall for over 17 years, then was shown at Congress Hall and many other places, including the prestigious Smithsonian. This Thanksgiving themed painting titled “The First Thanksgiving” was included in this series. Look at it closely. Do you agree with the artist? Did he accurately depict the events of the first Thanksgiving? You can do a search on the Internet for Jean Leon Gerome Ferris and find other paintings in his famous collection. Hope you enjoy the hunt.
The winners have been announced for the annual Lakeland Art Association member competition. Local artists are encouraged to join this organization and have an opportunity to win this or many other such events during the year. This also gives you new friends, learning adventures and exposure to the latest in art. The 2019 winners are: Mike Kelly, 1st place pastel; Heidi Bailey Meininger, 2nd place mixed media; and Kelly Shoemaker, 3rd place large triptych. Honorable mentions went t Kelly Bruce, Terry Pulley and Dave Taylor.
Upcoming and Current Events:
- The Warsaw City Hall Gallery will have works by Steve Creighton on display through Dec. 27.
- Through Dec. 21, the LAA is holding their “Christmas in the Gallery” sale, which will include many of the works from the member competition along with all their special and very unique gifts created by members.