Page, William ( 1811-1885). Painter. Page was born in Albany, New York, was drawing competently even before he moved with his family to New York City ( 1819), and went to a classical school there and then to a public school. He won a prize for a drawing ( 1822), studied law briefly and unhappily ( 1825), turned to drawing and painting ( 1825), and studied under Samuel F. B. Morse and at the National Academy of Design ( 1826-1828). Page then studied for the ministry at Andover and Amherst ( 1828-1830) but thereafter concentrated on art. (He later became a Swedenborgian.) He did portrait painting in Albany ( 1840-1842), New York ( 1842-1844), and Boston ( 1844-1847), where he was much influenced by the idealistic aesthetics of his friends Ralph Waldo Emerson* and James Russell Lowell.* ( Lowell dedicated his 1843 Poems to Page.) After a brief residence in New York again, Page went to Italy.
Once in Italy, Page flourished. He established studios in Florence ( 1850- 1852), where he overzealously studied the works of Titian and also socialized with Hiram Powers,* and then in Rome ( 1852-1860), where he made fast friends of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Charlotte Cushman,* among others. He also socialized with Nathaniel Hawthorne* and his family, Harriet Hosmer,* George Inness* (whom he converted to Swedenborgianism in Italy), and Herman Melville,* among other residents and travelers. In addition to portraits, Page painted biblical, mythological, literary, historical, and genre pictures. His nude Venus Guiding Eneas [sic] was the topic of much discussion when exhibited in Paris, London, Boston, and New York ( 1850).
Page returned to New York ( 1860), where he continued to work for some time. He finished a Campagna peasant scene, which he called Dolce Far Niente ( 1861), but it has since vanished. Capable but most conceited, he lectured on art ( 1861) and once boasted in a private letter ( 12 May 1861) to Sophie Page, his third wife, that he had "done more for art than any man (or woman) since
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Publication information: Book title: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1850s in America. Contributors: Robert L. Gale - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 289.
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