On August 17, 1901, in the Saturday Review of Books and Art, a supplement to the New York Times, the artist John La Farge published an obituary of the painter John Chandler Bancroft of Boston, stating that "Of him I have seen no sufficient notice taken, and it is for this purpose that I write you a few lines of reminiscence.'" La Farge had two motives for doing so: first, to honor the memory of a close and longtime friend whose "life ... to me as an artist, has been of great value and interest;" second, and more importantly, to rescue his valued colleague from obscurity by publicly acknowledging his contributions to American art. "Mr. Bancroft's career," La Farge wrote, "is a type of the many intellectual efforts which influence and help and determine the general movement, while the individuals whose minds have acted in this way are little known by name to the general public which still feels their intentions and their studies." Both Bancroft and La Farge had studied in France, although they never met there, since the latter had worked with the Academician Thomas Couture, while Bancroft moved among the Parisian bohemians and the Barbizon circle. Instead they met in Newport, Rhode Island, about 1860 and worked closely there during pivotal points in La Farge's career and in American art. When citing Bancroft's influential efforts, La Farge referred to his role in the transformation in style and theory in American painting in the 1850s and '60s that eventually deposed the reigning Hudson River School-a major shift indeed. Bancroft's contributions to this remained "little known" because, after working in obscurity and straitened circumstances for nearly a decade, he turned to a career in business, where he quickly succeeded and never returned to painting.
Sieger, William B.
"John Chandler Bancroft and Art in Newport and New England in the 1860s,"
Newport History: Vol. 71:
247, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.salve.edu/newporthistory/vol71/iss247/2