Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926

Alternative names
Birth 1857-07-04
Death 1926-04-23
Italian, English, French,

Biographical notes:

Joseph Pennell was an American artist and educator, primarily known for his etchings and illustrations. Much of his early work consisted of city scenes, published in magazines. He later worked on a variety of projects, often illustrating books in collaboration with his wife, author Elizabeth Robins. After spending time in Europe, notably London, Pennell taught art, and the couple collaborated on a biography of James McNeill Whistler.

From the description of Joseph Pennell letter to My dear Johnson, 1910 June 6. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 56559045

Pennell was an American artist and author.

From the description of [Letter] 1918 Jun. 3 [to] Welsh / Joseph Pennell. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 317962743

American etcher and author.

From the description of Letters of Joseph Pennell [manuscript], 1922-1926. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647833957

American etcher.

From the description of Letter, 1909. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 122288091

Artist Joseph Pennell was born in Philadelphia in 1860 and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Noted as one of the leading sketch artists of his time, his black and white sketches and etchings are owned by many of the world's major art museums. Pennell won numerous medals at international exhibitions, including the Paris Exposition of 1900 and the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. He illustrated a number of books and wrote his own novels and manuals on book illustration. He wrote a biography of James Abbott McNeill Whistler and edited a magazine called The Whistler Journal.

From the description of Papers, 1890-1936. (Winterthur Library). WorldCat record id: 84666730

American etcher and illustrator and his author wife (and sometimes collaborator), both Philadelphia-born and London residents from 1884 to 1917.

From the description of Papers of Joseph and Elizabeth R. Pennell, 1832-1951 (bulk, 1854-1936). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122385713

Joseph Pennell, artist and author. James McNeill Whistler, artist; full name: James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

From the description of Pennell-Whistler collection, 1597-1937. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 558717109

American etcher, lithographer, and illustrator; writer on artists and art.

From the description of Postscript : AMsS, 1919 Apr. [no day]. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122525218

Artist, illustrator, author.

From the description of Joseph Pennell letter to Mr. William Henry Rideing, 1909 Jan 26. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 256493361

American artist and author.

From the description of Autograph note by Joseph Pennell, 1906. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 79627040

Joseph Pennell (1857-1926), one of America's premier etchers and illustrators, was born on July 4, 1857, to Larkin and Rebecca Barton Pennell of Philadelphia. Growing up in a quiet Quaker household as a doted-upon only child, young Joseph developed an early independence of mind and an artistic bent. By his late teens Pennell risked his parents' disapproval to pursue a career in art, and before he was 25 his energy and skill had made him a commercially successful magazine illustrator, turning out well-received renderings of American and, later, European scenes.

Elizabeth Robins (1855-1936) collaborated with Pennell on an article on Philadelphia for the Century Magazine in 1882, after her uncle Charles Godfrey Leland had suggested her in his stead. Following work with George Washington Cable and William Dean Howells in (respectively) New Orleans and Italy, Joseph Pennell returned to Philadelphia and wed Elizabeth Robins in June 1884. The young couple soon moved to London to be near the historic architecture Pennell's increasingly sought-after commissions depended upon.

Until 1917 the Pennells lived in London, Joseph etching and drawing and Elizabeth writing. Elizabeth's text often accompanied her husband's work, but she also wrote independently, including art criticism. Joseph's colorful outspokenness and Elizabeth's quiet charm won them entry into London's artistic and intellectual life, where the Pennells were part of a circle that included Edmund Gosse, James McNeill Whistler, and George Bernard Shaw.

After the Pennells returned to the United States, Joseph continued his chosen path of art, teaching, and controversy, while Elizabeth elaborated her own less-flamboyant career in letters. Following Joseph's death in the spring of 1926 Elizabeth devoted most of her energies to memorializing her late husband's life and accomplishment. The Life and Letters of Joseph Pennell was published in 1929, and, largely with her sponsorship, Louis A. Wuerth's two bibliographies of Joseph's etchings and lithographs appeared in 1928 and 1931. Elizabeth Pennell died in New York City in February 1936.

From the guide to the Joseph and Elizabeth R. Pennell Papers TXRC97-A16., 1832-1951, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin)

Illustrator, etcher, and writer; New York, N.Y.

Wrote and/or illustrated over 100 books.

From the description of Joseph Pennell papers, 1908-1935. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122404268

Printmaker; Philadelphia, Pa.

Married Elizabeth Robins Pennell.

From the description of Joseph Pennell letters, 1890-1926. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122552929

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