Henry Bacon papers, 1849-1931

Bacon, Henry, b. 1839 d. 1912
Active in France; Haverhill, Mass.

Collection size: 1.9 linear feet

Collection Summary: Biographical material, correspondence, writings, sketchbooks, sketches and other art work, scrapbooks, financial records, photographs and printed matter document Henry Bacon's career as a painter and author.

Biographical material includes a 22 p. biographical sketch by Bacon's second wife Lee Bacon; an address book with miscellaneous notes; list of founding members, including Bacon, of the Société des Elèves de l'Atelier Cabanel, Paris, 1889; an order for 24 paintings from E. Gambart, a Paris dealer; and the Bacon family genealogy.

Included in correspondence are 31 letters, in French, from artists included in Bacon's book Parisian Art and Artists, including Beaumont, E. Berne-Bellecourt, Vincent Chevillard, Luigi Chialiva, Georges Clairin, Edmond Dupain, Carolus Duran, Antonio Gonzalez, Ferdinand Heilbuth, Madeleine Lemaire, Luc Oliver Merson, and Leon Olivie, and from students of Alexandre Cabanel including Bartholdi, Edmond Borchard, Pierre Cabanel, Georges Cain, Horace de Callias, Benjamin Constant, Fernand Cormon, Edmond Dupain,M.H. Gaudefroy, Jules Girardet, Charles Gosselin, E. Hamm, G. Haquette, and E. Renard, and posthumous correspondence to and from Lee Bacon about her husband's work.

Writings consist of an account of a meeting with Cecil Rhodes shortly before his death; short stories; poetry notebook; "The Artist in Pre-Cromo Days," an account of Bacon's experiences as an art student, his first visit to Ecouen, and encounters with Edouard Frère, J.F. Millet, and Corot; and writings on the Louvre.

Art work includes eleven sketchbooks containing sketches of foreign travel, primarily from France and Egypt, and shipboard sketches ; pen and ink illustrations; watercolors of figures in costume, desert landscapes, and seascapes; and a sketch of Bacon by J. Carroll Beckwith, and by an unidentified artist.

A notebook containing a sales record, 1864-1867 and an expense account of European travel, 1911 make up the financial records. Photographs are of Bacon in Etretat (France), Egypt, and Venice, and of his wife, Lee; reference travel photographs, chiefly of Egypt; and a daguerreotype of Bacon in Civil War uniform (not microfilmed).

One scrapbook contains clippings, a photograph of Bacon, and 2 letters about reproducing an 1877 Salon painting. A posthumous scrapbook compiled by Lee Bacon contains exhibition catalogs, notices, exhibition photographs, clippings, and a poem.

Printed material includes clippings, including obituaries; exhibition catalogs; Etretat, a book by Bacon; proof of a portrait sketch of Bacon by Leon Olivie for the cover of Art Amateur, 1882; and a dummy by Mrs. Bacon of the 1931 Bacon memorial exhibition catalog, which also contains handwritten lists of his other works.

Biographical/Historical Note: Henry Bacon, an oil and watercolor painter, served in the Union army during the Civil War as a field artist for LESLIE'S WEEKLY. Wounded at Bull Run, he was discharged. Circa 1864 he was a student of Alexandre Cabanel at l'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He later studied with Edouard Frere at Ecouen. He also spent numerous summers painting at Etretat, France. Circa 1891, he married Louisa Lee Andrews, his second wife. From the early 1900s, until his death, he summered in London and wintered in Cairo. He became well-known for his large watercolors of desert peoples in Egypt.

Donated 1987 by Bacon's grandniece, Nancy N. Brecht, except for sketchbooks nos. 1, 5, and 11, which were lent for microfilming. The papers were handed down in the Bacon family from Bacon's brother, Earle, to his daughter, Marjorie Kate Bacon, and then to her daughter, Nancy N. Brecht.

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