Musée No:325.184Regular price £25.00
Artist: James Wells Champney
James Wells Champney (1843 –1903) was an American genre artist and illustrator noted for his portraits, oriental scenes and American landscapes. Born in Boston, his mother died when he was quite young and he was raised by relatives. At the age of 16 years he began his career as an apprentice wood engraver. At the outbreak of Civil War he left the apprenticeship and enlisted. He was at Gettysburg. In 1866 he travelled to Europe where he studied under the genre painter, Edouard Frère in Ecouen. In 1873 he eloped with Elizabeth Williams, his former student of drawing, to save her from an arranged marriage., and for three years the couple travelled through Europe. Their marriage was a very happy one and they regularly worked together, Elizabeth contributed to articles and magazines and authored several series of travel books, with her husband providing the illustrations. His illustrations were very popular and were used by other notable authors. Back in America in 1879 the Champneys purchased a second home on New York's fashionable Fifth Avenue, where James established a studio. In 1880 the couple won a contract to illustrate a series of articles for Century Magazine and travelled to North Africa, Spain and Portugal and Morocco. Champney's paintings include landscape and genre subjects as well as Orientalist scenes. After his travels in Europe, he concentrated almost exclusively on pastels and became known for his portraits, especially those of young girls. He also lectured on and was an advocate for photography. He often signed his work as "Champs" to distinguish himself from other artists with the same surname. James died on 1 May 1903 in a tragic accident he fell down an elevator lift shaft in New York.