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George Fuller Biography

George Fuller (January 17, 1822 – March 21, 1884) was a Victorian portrait painter whose works attracted much attention and is especially remembered for his introspective works.

George Fuller: Early Life and Career

Fuller was born in 1822 on his father’s farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Though his uncle, aunt, and half-brother, were all painters, his parents were against him becoming a painter.

Initially,  he worked as a clerk in Boston and spent about two years on a railroad surveying expedition in Illinois and Ohio. but before moving to Boston in 1840 to launch his career as an artist he returned home to enter Deerfield Academy and painted in his spare time.

George Fuller Biography
George Fuller

During his stay in Albany in 1842, he spent several months studying with sculptor Henry Kirke Brown, a friend from Deerfield whom he had met on the surveying trip. When Brown left for Italy, Fuller returned to Massachusetts to join the Boston Artists’ Association in 1843.

George Fuller Biography

He then moved to New York City, where he registered in the antique school of the National Academy of Design in 1848. He became an associate member of the Academy in 1853. He spent his years in New York and Brooklyn by making occasional summer trips to Deerfield and few excursions to the southern states,

Where he particularly worked on portraits and made a series of genre sketches emphasizing on the slave population. Fuller’s career as an artist took a halt when his father died in 1859 and he decided to move to Deerfield to manage the family farm.

George Fuller Biography
Ideal Head, Oil on Canvas

Upon his return, he married Agnes Gordon Higginson and settled down to raise cranberries and tobacco. He remained at Deerfield for fifteen years, painting very little and exhibiting only infrequently. Soon In 1875, the prices of tobacco fell and he was forced to declare bankruptcy.

The next year Fuller attempted to recoup his financial losses by exhibiting a group of paintings in Boston. Many of the works were sold, and by 1877 he was hailed as a visionary wonder. Beginning  1878 he sent pictures to New York annually and was soon elected to their membership. He breathed his last at his winter home in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1884.

George Fuller’S Style OF Painting

Initially, he experimented with the daguerreotype process but it proved unsuccessful and soon he switched to become an itinerant portrait painter. Although his circle of New York friends included adherents to the American Pre-Raphaelite movement, his work does not seem to have been greatly influenced by Ruskinian precepts.

George Fuller Biography
Fedalma (1883-84), Oil on canvas

He became a force to reckon with in a new school of poetic, ruminant painting very different from his previous straightforward naturalism. Fuller’s new subjects idealized female figures (particularly young girls), bleak rural landscapes, and vaguely historical Puritan themes.

George Fuller’S Works

  • Hannah, 1879,
  • The Plains Between “The Bars” and South Deerfield, c. 1836-1838
  • Cupid, 1854
  • “The Birdcatcher”, 1880
  • Negro Nurse with Child, 1861
  • At the Bars, 1865
  • Ideal Head of a Boy (George Spencer Fuller)
  • By the Wayside, 1877,
  • The Romany Girl, 1877-1879,
  • Shearing the Donkey, 1877-1879
  • Priscilla Fauntleroy, 1882
  • Psyche, 1882
  • November 1882-1884
  • Fedalma, 1883-1884
  • Arethusa, 1884,

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