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Henry Mosler papers, 1856-1929

Henry Mosler papers, 1856-1929

Mosler, Henry, 1841-1920

Painter

This site provides access to the papers of Henry Mosler in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2009, and total 2,680 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 4.5 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter Henry Mosler (1841-1920), who began his career in Cincinnati, Ohio, lived in Germany and Paris for at least 2 decades, and finally settled in New York, measure 4.5 linear feet and date from 1856-1929. The collection documents Mosler's life and career through biographical material, personal and professional letters from members of the military, museums, family, friends and colleagues, writings including an 1862 Civil War diary, personal business records, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographs of Mosler, his family, colleagues and artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note

Henry Mosler (1841-1920) worked primarily in Ohio, New York City, and Europe as a painter of portraits and scenes of rural life in Europe. Henry Mosler spent his early years in Cincinnati, Ohio, studying art under James H. Beard. During the Civil War, he documented the western campaigns for HARPER'S WEEKLY for two years. Immediately afterward, Mosler went to Dusseldorf, and then to Paris, where he entered the studio of Ernest Hebert. In 1874, following a brief return to the United States, he entered the Academy at Munich where he studied under Piloty and won a medal at the Royal Academy. From Munich, Mosler returned to Paris where he became a regular participant in Salon exhibitions.

Provenance

The bulk of the collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by J. F. McCrindle, a great-grandson of Mosler, in 1976 and 1977, having been previously lent to AAA for microfilming. A photograph album was donated in 1993 by Paul M. Hertzmann, a dealer who acquired it through purchase. Additional materials were donated in 2008 and 2009 by McCrindle via John T. Rowe, president and CEO of the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation.

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

A Finding Aid to the Henry Mosler Papers,
1856-1929
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.moslhenr
Author
Finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley
Biographical Note
Henry Mosler (1841-1920) worked primarily in Ohio, New York City, and Europe as a painter of portraits and scenes of rural life in Europe. Mosler served as an artist correspondent for
Harper's Weekly
during the Civil War.
Born in Silesia (Poland) in 1841, Henry Mosler immigrated to New York City with his family in 1849. In the early 1850s the family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Mosler received art instruction from James Henry Beard, becoming an accomplished portrait painter and an active participant in the Cincinnati art scene.
Following the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Mosler became an artist correspondent for
Harper's Weekly
, documenting the Western Theater in Kentucky and Tennessee. He served as a volunteer aide-de-camp with the army of Ohio from 1861-1863 and was present at the engagement at Green River, and "present and under fire" at the battles of Shiloh and Perryville.
Immediately thereafter, Mosler relocated to Dusseldorf for two years and attended the Royal Academy, followed by six months in Paris where he studied with painter Ernest Hébert. In 1866 Mosler returned to Cincinnatti where his portraits and genre scenes enjoyed growing popularity.
In 1875 Mosler traveled to Munich and two years later settled in Paris from where he enjoyed critical and financial success both in Europe and in the United States. Mosler was known for his genre paintings of peasant life in rural Brittany and he became a regular participant in Salon exhibitions and won honorable mention in the Salon of 1879, when his painting
Le Retour
, became the first work by an American artist to be purchased by the French government. In 1888 he won the gold medal at the Paris Salon and in 1892 he was made chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur and officier de l'Académie.
Mosler returned to the United States temporarily during this period, including a trip in 1885-1886 to visit the West and collect material for paintings of Native American life.
In 1894 Mosler returned to the United States and settled in New York, where he became a popular teacher and an active participant in the New York art scene. In 1895 he was made an associate member of the National Academy of Design, and in his last decades took up landscape painting during summers in the Catskill mountains, and produced genre paintings depicting scenes from colonial and rural life. Mosler continued to enjoy widespread popularity until his death in 1920.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1863-1892, 1921 (Box 1, OV 10; 4 folders)
Series 2: Letters,1861-circa 1920 (Boxes 1-2; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1860-circa 1900 (Boxes 2-3, 6; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1869-1905 (Box 3; 4 folders)
Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1860s-1929 (Box 3; 10 folders)
Series 6: Artwork and Sketchbooks, 1856-1917 (Box 4, OVs 10-11; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographic Material, 1860-circa 1910 (Boxes 5-9, BV 12; 2.0 linear feet)
Scope and Content Note
The papers of painter Henry Mosler (1841-1920), who began his career in Cincinnati, Ohio, lived in Germany and Paris for at least 2 decades, and finally settled in New York, measure 4.5 linear feet and date from 1856-1929. The collection documents Mosler's life and career through biographical material, personal and professional letters from members of the military, museums, family, friends and colleagues, writings including an 1862 Civil War diary, personal business records, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographs of Mosler, his family, colleagues and artwork.
Biographical material includes passports for Mosler's travel during the Civil War and to the American West in 1875-1876, as well as identification cards and awards from Mosler's years in Germany and Paris, including the Ordre National Légion d'Honneur awarded to him in 1892.
Letters record Mosler's service as an aide-de-camp for the Army of Ohio and his activities as an artist correspondent for
Harper's Weekly
from 1861-1863 in the Western Theater of the Civil War. However, the bulk of the letters document Mosler's career from the 1880s onward. Found are letters from museums, art associations, government agencies including the Minsistere de l'Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts, and colleagues in Europe and the United States including artists James Henry Beard, Julien Dupré, Gabrier Ferrier, Ernest Hébert, William Henry Howe, William Ordway Partridge, and Leon Germain Pelouse, among others. There are also scattered letters from Mosler.
Writings and notes include an 1862 Civil War diary and two illustrated notebooks from 1862 and 1863 containing sketches, and travel and financial notes. Also found are two biographical accounts of Mosler's career and poems by various authors, many inspired by Mosler's paintings.
Personal business records include an account book documenting Mosler's income and expenses from 1869-1878 and 1886-1892, and Library of Congress copyright certificates for four of Mosler's pictures.
Printed material documents Mosler's career in the United States and Europe through news clippings, a brochure, and an exhibition catalog for an 1897 exhibition of his paintings at Galleries of Pape Bros.
Artwork and sketchbooks include six sketches and an engraving by Mosler, and two books containing sketches by Mosler and other artists including James Henry Beard. The series also contains one ink drawing each by Leon Germain Pelouse and E. Hillery.
Photographic material includes albums and individual photographs of Mosler in his studio and with others including his immediate and extended family, and students. Also found are photos of artists including Gabriel Ferrier, Ernest Hébert and Thomas Buchanan Read, Brigadier General R. W. Johnson and opera singers Emma Nevada Palmer and Renée Richards. Photographs of artwork are primarily found in 2 oversized albums dedicated by Mosler to his children, Edith Mosler and Gustave Henry Mosler respectively.
Provenance
The bulk of the collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by J. F. McCrindle, a great-grandson of Mosler, in 1976 and 1977, having been previously lent to AAA for microfilming. A photograph album was donated in 1993 by Paul M. Hertzmann, a dealer who acquired it through purchase. Additional materials were donated in 2008 and 2009 by McCrindle via John T. Rowe, president and CEO of the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation.
Processing Information
Portions of the collection were processed and microfilmed on reels 4284-4285 and 1201 at some point after accession; this microfilm is no longer in circulation. In 2009, the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation funded the conservation of Mosler's Civil War diary, an illustrated notebook, an account book, and a photo album dedicated to Edith Mosler. Digital images documenting work before and after conservation are available at the Archives of American Art offices. All previously filmed and unfilmed accessions were merged, fully processed, arranged, and described by Stephanie Ashley, and the collection was digitized, in 2012 with funding provided by the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation.

Additional Forms Available

The collection has been digitized and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Henry Mosler papers, 1856-1929. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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