Tuesday, October 21, 2014

James Walker

(American, 1819-1889)

James Walker, born on June 3, 1819 in Northamptonshire, England, was a historical painter whose works can be found in the permanent collections of the U. S. War Department Building, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the California Historical Society and the Tennessee State Museum among others. Not much is known of his training, although it has been said that he studied in New York City. He was well known as a military painter and he was known to spend long hours at the sites of Civil War battles and interviewing survivors. Walker's family settled near Albany, New York in 1824 and later moved to New York City. He went to New Orleans as a youth and traveled to Mexico City where he was living when the Mexican War began. He hid for six weeks within the city before escaping to the American lines where he joined the American forces as an interpreter under General Winfield Scott. Walker was the only American painter present during the siege of Mexico City. He returned to New York City in 1848 and, after visiting South America, established a studio there. Walker worked in Washington, DC, from 1857-62 where he painted the "Battle of Chapultepec" which is now in the U. S. Capitol. Walker completed a number of government- commissioned works, one of which was placed in the Senate. He was also commissioned by General Hooker to render the "Battle of Lookout Mountain". He worked in Washington again in 1883-4 and had a studio in the Corcoran building. In the early 1870s he opened a studio in San Francisco where he focused on Mexican culture of early California. He died in Watsonville, California on August 29, 1889.

  • Member
  • Washington Art Association
  • Work
  • U. S. War Department Building
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • California Historical Society
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkley
  • Tennessee State Museum
  • References
  • Groce and Wallace, The New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564-1860
  • Jacobson, The Civil War in Art
  • _____, Census, 1860
  • ____, Washington Business Directory, 1883-84
  • McMahan, The Artists of Washington D.C. 1796-1996
  • Kelly, " Lanscape and Genre Painting in Tennessee, 1810-1985", Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Summer, 1988
  • Fairman, Art and Artists of the United States of America
  • ____, Kennedy Quarterly, May, 1961
  • Samuels, Samuels' Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
  • Taft, Artist and Illustrator of the Old West
  • Cowdrey, National Academy of Design Exhibition Record, 1826-1860
  • ____, San Francisco Morning Call, Sept. 4, 1889, obituary
  • ____, Album of American Battle Art
  • ____, Art Digest, Oct. 1, 1944
  • ____, Magazine of Art, May, 1944
  • Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975
  • Opitz (ed.), Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers
  • Mallett (ed.), Index of Artists, International Biographical
  • Hughes, Artists in California 1786-1940
  • Holzer and Neely, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Civil War in Art
  • Sears (ed.), The Civil War: A Treasury of Art and Literature
  • Wilson and Fiske, Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography
  • Harmsen, American Western Art
  • Nostrand, First 100 Years of Painting in California
  • Dawdy, Artists of the American West
  • ____, Honeyman Collection, catalogue
  • ____, West as Art, catalogue
  • Rossi and Hunt (ed.), The Art of the Old West
  • Axelrod, Art of the Golden West
  • Troccoli, "Painters of the American West", American Art Review, Oct., 2000
  • May, "Proud Legacy: 150 Years of Western Art", Southwest Art, Jan., 1999
  • ____, American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War
  • Williams, The Civil War: The Artists' Record (catalogue of the exhibition, Corcoran Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Exhibited
  • Washington Art Association, 1859