Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923

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Painter; New York, N.Y.

From the description of Elihu Vedder letters, 1870-1880 and [undated]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122502860

Elihu Vedder was an American artist, known for his mystical and imaginative works, probably best remembered for his illustrations for the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Born in New York and raised in Schenectady and Cuba, Vedder apprenticed with an architect and studied with a painter before travelling to Europe to study painting. He returned to New York and worked as a painter and illustrator, but settled in Rome and later Capri; he had a long career as a painter and designer, creating illustrated books, Tiffany glass, mosaic, murals, and metalwork. Vedder also wrote an autobiography and two volumes of verse, and was friends with many authors and artists of his time in Europe and the United States.

From the description of Elihu Vedder letter to Brentano and bookplate design, 1910 Oct. 11. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 72827485

American painter and illustrator.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, N.Y., to Mrs. Laura W. Johnson, 1882 Jun. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270583233

American artist and illustrator.

From the description of Autograph card signed : Rome, to Dr. Baldwin, Monday [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270861014

American artist.

From the description of Letter : Rome, to Charles E. Rice, Alliance, Ohio, 1912 March 8. (Bryn Mawr College). WorldCat record id: 36787461

Vedder, an American artist, was particularly known for his illustrations for Edward FitzGerald's The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

From the description of [Letter] 1891 Dec. 17, 68 Capeole Case [to] Mr. De Vinne / Ellihu Vedder. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 503085286

Painter, muralist, sculptor, illustrator, writer; Rome and the Isle of Capri, Italy.

Born in NYC. Symbolist painter.

From the description of Elihu Vedder papers, 1804-1969 (bulk 1840-1923). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220173294

Painter, muralist, sculptor, illustrator, writer; Rome and the Isle of Capri, Italy.

b. 1836, New York, N.Y.; d. Jan. 29, 1923, at the age of 87; Symbolist painter.

From the description of Elihu Vedder papers, 1804-1969, bulk 1840-1923. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 317592389

Elihu Vedder was born in New York in 1836. He grew up in Cuba, where his father worked as a dentist, and on his grandfather's farm in Brooklyn. He was educated in boarding schools and by tutors, and showed an interest in drawing at an early age. He began his formal training with T. H. Matteson in New York, and went on to study with Francois-Edouard Picot in Paris and Raffaello Bonaiuti in Florence.

After studying in Europe for several years, Vedder returned to the U.S. in 1860 and settled in New York, where he worked as a commercial illustrator during the Civil War. In 1864, he was one of the artists who illustrated the first American edition of Tennyson's Enoch Arden, which was published by Ticknor and Fields. During this time, he became associated with a bohemian group of artists and writers that regularly met at Pfaff's coffee shop. Some of the earliest exhibitions of his work took place at the annual spring exhibits at the National Academy of Design from 1863 to 1865. He became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1865. After the war he returned to Europe, eventually settling permanently in Italy.

In 1869 Vedder married Elizabeth Caroline Beach Rosekrans (Carrie). They lived in Rome, where Vedder earned his living by undertaking commissioned work (what he termed "duty painting") while also producing paintings on original themes and subjects, such as The Cumaean Sibyl (1875-1878) which became one of his most celebrated paintings. Vedder's wife aided him in his work by cultivating patrons and carrying out all the business correspondence. Over the years he exhibited his work in London, Paris, New York and Boston (where it was especially well-received). While achieving a certain degree of success, he struggled throughout his career to make a living as an artist.

Vedder also carried out work on commission, designing covers for Century Magazine in 1881 and illustrations for various other publications such as Harper's . He experimented in other decorative arts also, designing glass ringwork, firebacks, and tiles; apart from some commissions for glass work from Tiffany's, these other projects never really got off the ground.

Vedder made his biggest contribution to American commercial art in 1884 with his illustrations of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam . Exhibitions of the original drawings followed, which were well-attended by the public; he also painted and sold several pictures from the Rubaiyat drawings. In the 1890s he undertook several mural projects, including ones for the Walker Art Building at Bowdoin College and the Library of Congress.

In the early 1900s, Vedder built a villa on the island of Capri, where he spent the summers and falls while continuing to live the rest of the year in Rome. From this point on, he didn't undertake any new major paintings, but instead turned to writing and illustrating books of autobiography and verse. His books include The Digressions of V (1910), Miscellaneous Moods (1915), and Doubt and Other Things (1922).

Vedder died on January 29, 1923, at the age of 87.

This biographical note draws from Regina Soria's biography, Elihu Vedder: American Visionary Artist in Rome (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970).

From the guide to the Elihu Vedder papers, 1804-1969 (bulk 1840-1923), (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923,. Autograph letter signed from Elihu Vedder, Rome, to William Winter, New York [manuscript], 1914 March 19. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Elihu Vedder papers, 1804-1969 (bulk 1840-1923) Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf American Academy in Rome. American Academy in Rome records, 1855-[ca. 1981] (bulk dates 1894-1946). Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. [Letter] 1891 Dec. 17, 68 Capeole Case [to] Mr. De Vinne / Ellihu Vedder. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Zalesch, Saul,. Saul Zalesch collection of artists' letters, 1834-1973. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf VEDDER, ELIHU. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Shaw, Edwin Coupland, 1863-1941. Edwin Coupland Shaw papers, 1864-1937. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Yandell, Enid. Enid Yandell papers, 1878-1982. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Hart, Charles Henry, 1847-1918,. Miscellaneous artists' letters, receipts and exhibition announcements, 1731-1901. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Elihu Vedder [graphic]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Autograph card signed : Rome, to Dr. Baldwin, Monday [n.d.]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Thomas Bailey Aldrich papers, 1837-1926. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Elihu Vedder letter to Brentano and bookplate design, 1910 Oct. 11. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Elihu Vedder papers, 1804-1969 (bulk 1840-1923). Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn James Freeman Clarke additional papers, 1806-1936. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Dillenberger, Jane. Jane Dillenberger letter from Gertrude Vedder Booton, 1977 January 9. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Sylvester Rosa Koehler Correspondence, 1877-1896 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Autograph letter signed : New York, N.Y., to Mrs. Laura W. Johnson, 1882 Jun. 28. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn William B. Child letter to Ferris Greenslet with Elihu Vedder poems, circa 1867-1923 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). Miscellaneous papers, 1781-1949, 1830-1947 (bulk) Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Brooklyn Museum. Dept. of Painting and Sculpture. Institutional file, Exhibitions. Perceptions and evocations: the art of Elihu Vedder. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn American Academy of Arts and Letters. American Academy of Arts and Letters records, 1864-1942. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Elihu Vedder papers, 1804-1969, bulk 1840-1923. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Thomas Wentworth Higginson correspondence, 1843-1911. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Howells family papers, 1850-1954 (inclusive). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923,. Autograph letters signed from Elihu Vedder, Naples and Rome, to William Winter, New York [manuscript], 1914. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923,. Autograph letters signed from Elihu Vedder, New York, to Augustin Daly [manuscript], 1880-1887. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Letter, 1901, Mar. 31, Rome, to Mr. Young. Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Williams & Everett (Gallery). Williams & Everett exhibition catalogs, 1892-1900. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Autograph File, V, 1476-1947. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Tracey, Francis W. Francis W. Tracey letter to Warren Bryant concerning a payment due to Elihu Vedder, 1879. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923,. Autograph letter signed from Elihu Vedder, New York City, to William Winter [manuscript], 1880 March 17. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Channing, Grace Ellery, 1862-1937. Papers, 1806-1973 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Elihu Vedder letters, 1870-1880 and [undated]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Letter : Rome, to Charles E. Rice, Alliance, Ohio, 1912 March 8. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
referencedIn Additional papers, 1839-1895. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Brooklyn Museum. Dept. of Photography. Records, Exhibition negatives: installations. Perceptions and Evocations: The Art of Elihu Vedder. 1979. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Dillenberger, Jane. Jane Dillenberger letter from Gertrude Vedder Booton, 1977 January 9. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923. Elihu Vedder letters to Warren Bryant and others, 1879-1899, undated. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Zalesch, Saul E. Saul Zalesch collection of artists' letters and documents, 1834-1973. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn William Roscoe Thayer papers, 1762-1927 (inclusive), 1872-1921 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Kurtz, William, 1833-1904. Elihu Vedder [graphic]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Vedder, Elihu, 1836-1923 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Rogers Memorial Collection: Papers of James R. Osgood and A. V. S. Anthony, 1853-1912. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Rosamond B. Loring collection of printed endpapers, 1900-1950 (inclusive), 1920-1941 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Hearn, Lafcadio, 1850-1904. Autograph letter signed : place not specified, to Alice Wellington Rollins, [ca. 1878]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Letters from various correspondents, American period, 1876-1937. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Dickinson family papers, 1757-1934. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Papers, 1806-1973 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Brewster, Achsah. The Child : Harwood Barlow Brewster, a direct descendant of Elder William Brewster, scholar and leader of the Pilgrim fathers. Drew University Library, Rose Memorial Library
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence and records, 1832-1944. Houghton Library.
referencedIn American Academy in Rome records, 1855-circa 1981 (bulk 1894-1946) Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Stone, Melville Elijah, 1848-1929. Melville E. Stone papers, 1815-1954, bulk 1890-1929. Newberry Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 1836-1907 person
associatedWith American Academy in Rome. corporateBody
associatedWith American Academy of Arts and Letters. corporateBody
associatedWith Baldwin, William Wilberforce, person
associatedWith Bliss Lane, Arthur, Mrs, person
associatedWith Brentano, Arthur, b. 1858, person
associatedWith Brewster, Achsah. person
associatedWith Brooklyn Museum. Dept. of Painting and Sculpture. corporateBody
associatedWith Brooklyn Museum. Dept. of Photography. corporateBody
correspondedWith Bryant, Warren person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Channing, Grace Ellery, 1862-1937. person
associatedWith Child, William B. person
correspondedWith Clarke, James Freeman, 1810-1888 person
associatedWith Cole, Timothy, 1852-1931. person
associatedWith Cox, George C. (George Collins), 1851-1902, person
correspondedWith Daly, Augustin, 1838-1899 person
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith De Vinne, Theordore Low, 1828-1914, person
correspondedWith Dickinson family. family
associatedWith Dielman, Frederick, 1847-1935. person
associatedWith Dillenberger, Jane. person
associatedWith Farren, Donald, person
associatedWith Gifford, R. Swain (Robert Swain), 1840-1905. person
associatedWith GRACE ELLERY (CHANNING) STETSON, 1862-1937 person
associatedWith Hart, Charles Henry, 1847-1918, person
associatedWith Hawks, Stanley, Mrs, person
associatedWith Hearn, Lafcadio, 1850-1904. person
associatedWith Hennessey, William J., 1834-1900. person
associatedWith Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 1823-1911 person
associatedWith Houghton, Henry Oscar, 1823-1895 person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, Laura Winthrop, 1825-1889, person
associatedWith Koehler, S. R. (Sylvester Rosa), 1837-1900 person
associatedWith Kurtz, William, 1833-1904. person
associatedWith La Farge, John, 1835-1910. person
associatedWith Loring, Rosamund B. (Rosamond Bowditch), 1889-1950 person
associatedWith Lowell, James Russell, 1819-1891. person
associatedWith Marshall, A., person
associatedWith Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Millet, Francis Davis, 1846-1912. person
associatedWith Morse, Edward Lind, 1857-1923. person
associatedWith Page, Walter Hines, 1855-1918 person
associatedWith Pennington, Harper, 1854 or 5-1920. person
associatedWith Rice, Charles E. person
associatedWith Rodin, Auguste, 1840-1917. person
correspondedWith Rogers, Henry Munroe, 1839-1937 person
associatedWith Sarony, Napoleon, 1821-1896, person
associatedWith Shaw, Edwin Coupland, 1863-1941. person
associatedWith Stone, Melville Elijah, 1848-1929. person
associatedWith Story, William Wetmore, 1819-1895. person
associatedWith Suscipi, L. (Lorenzo), b. 1802, person
correspondedWith Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923 person
associatedWith Tracey, Francis W. person
correspondedWith Tracy, Agnes Ethel person
associatedWith Vedder, Caroline Rosenkrans person
associatedWith Vedder, Caroline Rosenkrans. person
associatedWith White, Stanford, 1853-1906. person
associatedWith Williams & Everett (Gallery) corporateBody
correspondedWith Winter, William, 1836-1917 person
associatedWith Yandell, Enid. person
associatedWith Young, Mr., person
associatedWith Zalesch, Saul, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Italy--Rome
Rome
New York (State)--New York
Italy--Rome
Rome
Subject
Artists--Correspondence
Painters--Italy--Rome
Art, American
Painting, Italian--19th century
Illustrators--Italy--Rome
Illustrators
Artists' studios--Photographs
Painters
Artists' writings
Painting, Modern--19th century--Italy--Rome
Occupation
Artists
Function

Person

Birth 1836-02-26

Death 1923-01-29

Americans

Information

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