George Harrison Hite

(1810 - 1880)

Hite started out in Urbana, Ohio, as a sign, "fancy", oil portrait, and miniature painter in the late 1820s. While most sources say he was born in Urbana, HIte's birthplace is listed as Kentucky in both the 1850 and 1870 federal censuses, and he is referred to as an "old Kentuckian, who is renowned as a watercolor and miniature artist," in the Louisville Industrial Exposition catalogue of 1871. Hite painted in a number of Southern cities, including Sparta, Georgia; Charleston; and New Orleans. In 1838, he moved to New York City, where he established a studio and exhibited frequently at the Nation Academy of Design and the Apollo Association from 1838 to 1857. From his base in New York City, he made working trips to Ohio and Kentucky. Beginning in 1853-1854, Hite lived in Morrisania, in Westchester County, now the Bronx. The sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward (1850-1910), also a native of Urbana, extolled Hite's talents as a miniaturist and executed a bust of the artist for his grave.

"Arts and Aritsts in Ohio", Magazine of Western History, June 1886; Rutledge 1949; Groce and Wallace 11957; Yarnall and Gerdts, eds. 1986; Mahe and McCaffrey, eds., 1987; Hageman et. al. 1993; Haverstock, ed. 2000; American Portrait Miniatures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), Carrie Rebora Barratt, Lori Zabar. © Copyright Ownerships valid for any material restricted by the Public Domain rule is respected, and material which infringes upon any © will be removed upon written request.

George H. Hite, also Known as: George Harrison Hite was born in Urbana, Ohio 1807, and died in New York, New York, in 1880. Hite’s career may have begun in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1835, where he advertised himself as a “native and self-taught artist of Kentucky.” Like many miniaturists, he traveled extensively between New Orleans and New York, and ranged as far west as Cincinnati.

Born in Urbana, Ohio, George Hite was working as a miniaturist in Virginia by 1832. The following year he executed portraits in Columbus, Ohio, and Sparta, Georgia; in 1835, and 1838, he was in Charleston, South Carolina. He moved to New York City in 1838, established his miniature business there, and exhibited frequently at the National Academ of Design and from 1838 to 1858, at the Apollo Association. In 1844 he also did some work in New Orleans. Hite listed his address as Morrisania, Westchester County, in 1864 and again in 1873, when he exhibited a miniature of Howard Christy at the Louisville Industrial Exposition. At the time he was praised as a renowned watercolor and miniature artist.

Hite's early miniatures are delicately colored and finely stippled or hatched in the face and background; late examples are more deeply colored and broadly hatched and often emulate photographs.

When the miniature of Daniel Webster (1782-1852) was painted, he was sixty-two; he had served as secretary of state between 1841 and 1843, successfully negotiating the Webster-Asburton Treaty of 1842, which resolved disputes with Great Britain about the Canadian border and suppression of the African slave trade. His initiation of discussions for the opening of diplomatic relations with China led to the negotiation of a treaty in 1844. Webster returned to the Senate the following winter. It is not known whether this miniature is a copy or was painted from life.

© Copyright Ownership in place by author: American Portrait Miniatures in the Manney Collection, Dale T. Johnson, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1990 - Portrait miniatures

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