Alfred Thompson

Born and educated in Baltimore, Maryland, Alfred Wordsworth Thompson is identified as a landscape, marine, figure, and historical painter. Some of his early works were executed at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, at the time of abolitionist John Brown’s raid on the federal arsenal there in 1859. Just before the American Civil War erupted, Thompson opened a studio in Baltimore, Maryland, and many of his pictures, published in Harper’s Weekly and the Illustrated London News, were from the war’s first year. In 1861 he went to Paris, France, and studied with various artists, including Charles G. Gleyre and Antoine Bayre, the noted sculptor of animals. From 1864 to 1865, he worked at the École des Beaux-Arts, and returned to the United States in 1868. Thompson established a studio in New York City, and soon gained recognition, becoming one of the first members of the Society of American Artists. After his election as a full academician in the National Academy of Design in 1875, he regularly sent paintings to their annual exhibitions. Among his best known works are The Parting Guests, 1775 and Washington Reviewing the Troops. In his later years, Thompson took up traveling again, revisiting Italy, and touring Spain, Morocco, and Asia Minor. He died in Summit, New Jersey, at age fifty-six.