Henry Farrer

Henry Farrer (March 23, 1844 – February 24, 1903) was an English-born American artiste known for his tonalist watercolor landscapes and etchings.

Farrer was born in London, the younger brother of performer Thomas Charles Farrer. Thomas had studied in Britain under John Ruskin and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Henry was self-taught, and may have partnered his style in the same way as that of his older brother.

Farrer immigrated to America in 1863 and opened a studio in New York. As a newcomer to the American art world, he became a supporter of the Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art, a short-lived government co-founded by his brother and centered upon the Pre-Raphaelite tradition of correct and highly attainable artistic depictions. In his first years as a professional artiste in the 1860s, Farrer painted Pre-Raphaelite yet lives, some landscapes and marine works, and in addition to began his first efforts at etching.

In the 1870s, Farrer's landscape achievement shifted to the tonalist style for which he is best remembered. He co-founded the American Watercolor Society and, unlike most artists of the time, painted in water colours in this area exclusively. His tonalist landscapes, which he continued to Make into the 1890s, typically depict a misty or cloudy landscape past a marsh or small pond in the foreground. The sun is often atmosphere in a Farrer painting, and the overall feeling one of stillness. His use of subdued, earthy colors gives his works a meditative mood.

During the same period, Farrer became a driving force in the Etching Revival in America. He was a founding fanatic of the New York Etching Club in 1877, and responsive in the promotion of etching as a creative medium rather than a reproductive one. Farrer's best known etchings depict New York. He etched a series of street scenes in the 1860s, and unconventional series of New York Harbor scenes in the late 1870s and 1880s.

Farrer is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

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