Ambrose Andrews

(1805 - 1870)

Born in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Miniaturist Painter, Family Portraits, Sports. He studied at the National Academy of Design, New York City in 1824.

He started to work as a full time artist shortly after 1824 and was active throughout his life. He worked in Schuylerville, New York in 1824, in Troy, New York from 1829 to 1831, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1836, in New Haven, Connecticut in 1837, in New Orleans from 1841 to 1842, in New York City from 1847 to 1853, and in Buffalo, New York and St Louis, Missouri from 1856 to 1859.

Andrews exhibited successfully throughout his career at such prestigious venues as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1848, The National Academy of Design, New York City, in 1849, The American Institute, New York City, in 1856 (a portrait of Henry Clay), The American Art-Union from 1847-1853 (views of Montreal, Vermont and Connecticut), St Louis Art Museum, in 1844 and at The Royal Academy, London in 1859.

Today, Ambrose Andrews works can be found in private and public collections in the USA and abroad, including The New York Historical Society, New York City. (A color portrait of Philip Schuyler and family of Schuylerville, painted in 1824).

He died sometime after 1870.

[Conflict in sources: Born 1801 - Died 1859].


The itinerant painter, Ambrose Andrews may have been born in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. (The birth of an Ambrose Andrews was recorded there in 1801, and the artist's addrest was listed as Stockbridge in 1836, the first time he exhibited his work at New York's National Academy of Design.) In 1824, he studied at the American Academy of the Fine Arts, New York, where he probably drew from casts after antique sculpture. That same year he painted a charming but somewhat awkward watercolor portrait (The New-York Historical Society) of the family of his patron, Philip Schuyler (1788-1865), a wealthy and prominent New Yorker. Andrews moved often, mainly within New York State, but also as far afield as New Orleans and St. Louis. He exhibited portraits, including at least one miniature, and painted landscapes in the popular style of the Hudson River School.

When Andrews painted The Children of Nathan Starr in Middletown, Connecticut, in 1835, he created an outstanding conversation piece, a type of subject common in England but unusual in America. Conversation pieces represent a family or a group of related people in conversation or participating in a common activity. The ages and identities of the children depicted here are known from an inscription on the reverse of the canvas. The oldest daughter, Emily Helen, fifteen, is seated, a closed book on her lap; her youngest brother, Edward Pomeroy, three, stands in front of her displaying a hoop and stick, a popular children's game during the nineteenth century. Other children, Henry Ward, nine, Frederick Barnard, six, and Grace Ann, twelve, are playing battledor and shuttlecock. The children stand in a simple interior, the doors thrown open to reveal a Greek Revival column, a proch with potted flowers, mainly calla lilies, and a sweeping view of the Connecticut River, including their family's munitions factory. The charm of the picture is heightened by the artist's attention to such details as the elaborate pattern of the painted floor or floor cloth; by the pose and gestures of the youngsters, who are seemingly frozen in action; and by the stron clarifying light that pours in from outdoors, enlivening their faces with a decided warmth.

View painter's art: Ambrose Andrews (1805-1859) [new window view]

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