Neagle, John, 1796-1865

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1796-11-04
Death 1865-09-17
Britons

Biographical notes:

John B. Neagle was a portrait painter.

From the description of Notebooks, 1825-1850. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122616046

John Neagle was a portrait painter who lived and worked in Philadelphia in the mid nineteenth century. While serving as an apprentice to Thomas Wilson, a "coach and ornamental painter," he began to consider painting as a career for himself. He studied under Thomas Sully, and in 1818 ventured to Lexington, Kentucky, with the hope of setting up a business. After a brief stay he returned to Philadelphia, then traveled to Boston in 1825 to study with Gilbert Stuart. In 1826 he returned to Philadelphia and married Mary Chester Sully, the niece and step-daughter of Thomas Sully.

From the description of Papers, 1817-1865. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 86165479

American portrait painter.

From the description of Letter, 1842 Nov. 15. (Filson Historical Society, The). WorldCat record id: 49276151

Portrait painter; Philadelphia, Pa.

From the description of John Neagle printed material, 1781-1857. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122515362

Portrait painter; Philadelphia, Penn.

Neagle studied under Bass Otis. Influences on Neagle's work include Thomas Sully and Gilbert Stuart. Neagle's painting "Pat Lyon at the Forge" was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1827 and brought him notoriety. Neagle married Sully's step-daughter, Mary, in 1826.

From the description of John Neagle papers, 1817-1865. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122594738

Portrait painter; Philadelphia, Penn.

aAt 14 years, Neagle apprenticed with Thomas Wilson, a coach and ornamental painter. Through Wilson, Neagle met and studied under Bass Otis. Influences on Neagle's work include Thomas Sully and Gilbert Stuart. Neagle's painting "Pat Lyon at the Forge" was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1827 and brought him recognition and a reputation as a fine painter. In addition to painting, he devoted his attentions to the Pennsylvania Academy, the Artists' Fund Society, and art theory.

From the description of John Neagle notebooks and account books, 1824-1861. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122557273

Like Benjamin Franklin before him, John Neagle was a Bostonian by birth and a Philadelphian by nature. One of Philadelphia's better known portrait painters during the first half of the nineteenth century and a promoter of the fine arts, Neagle was born into a family of middling means in 1796. After his father, Maurice, an Irish immigrant, died in 1800, John was raised in Philadelphia. In his autobiography, Neagle describes becoming obsessed with drawing at an early age, despite little family encouragement.

While serving as an apprentice to the "coach and ornamental painter," Thomas Wilson, Neagle began to explore the possibility of painting as a career. Through Wilson, Neagle was introduced to the portrait painter Bass Otis, whose work, he wrote, "set me on fire." After two months study with Otis, and committed research on his own, Neagle committed himself to becoming a portrait painter.

Having earned praise for his ambition and the quality of his work, Neagle turned away from coach painting and at the end of his apprenticeship in 1818, he struck out for Lexington, Kentucky, in the hopes of establishing himself in business. Finding that another painter, Matthew Harris Jouett, was already well entrenched there, Neagle moved to New Orleans, where he was again thwarted by the competition, before returning to Philadelphia.

In his home city, Neagle's career slowly began to develop. Exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1821 on, and becoming the protege of Thomas Sully by 1824, Neagle continued his studies. In 1825, he traveled to Boston to study with Gilbert Stuart for a year, returning to Philadelphia to marry Mary Chester Sully, Sully's niece and stepdaughter.

Over the next decade, Neagle worked in both New York and Philadelphia, producing his best known works, including Pat Lyon at the Forge and his portrait ofthe physician, William Potts Dewees (1833). In 1842, he was commissioned topaint his last great work, the massive portrait of Henry Clay that now hangs inthe Union League of Philadelphia.

Neagle's artistic output began to wane following the death of his wife in 1845, and he began gradually to withdraw from public life. In the late 1850s, he suffered a severe stroke which left him partially paralyzed. He died at home in Philadelphia on September 17, 1865.

From the guide to the John Neagle Papers, 1817-1865, (American Philosophical Society)

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Subjects:

  • Artists--Pennsylvania
  • Portrait painters--History--Sources
  • Art--Conservation and restoration
  • Portrait painting--History--19th century
  • Portrait painters--History--19th century
  • Landscape painting--Study and teaching
  • Painting--History
  • Painting--Study and teaching
  • Landscape painting
  • Engravers--History--19th century
  • Art objects--Conservation and restoration
  • Painters
  • Art, American
  • Art literature
  • Artists' materials
  • Engravers--History--Sources
  • Literature, Arts, and Culture
  • Whist
  • Portrait painters

Occupations:

  • Collector
  • Artists

Places:

  • Kentucky (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • Ashland (Lexington, Ky.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)