Edwin Graves Champney (1842-1899)
Edwin Graves Champney was a member of the well-known New England artistic family that included the White Mountain School painter Benjamin Champney, the genre painter James Wells Champney and the miniaturist Marie Champney Humphreys. Edwin G. Champney was born in Boston on August 24, 1842. On his paternal side he was a descendent of the Reverend Cotton Mather. When Champney was six years old his family moved to Woburn, Massachusetts.
Champney studied briefly with his uncle Benjamin Champney in North Conway, New Hampshire in 1861, who encouraged him to continue to paint. During the Civil War, he served two terms with the Massachusetts regiment and he made many sketches of army life. In 1871 Edwin Champney traveled to Antwerp where he studied at the Royal Academy. He also traveled to Dusseldorf and Paris, returning to Boston in 1875.
In 1877 and 1878 Edwin Champney taught Drawing at the newly opened School of the Museum of Fine Arts. In 1878-1879 he taught Still Life at that institution.
In 1876 Champney was an assistant to John La Farge during the celebrated mural decoration of Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston.
Little else is known of the life of Edwin G. Champney. His works are extremely rare on the art market and afford art historians and collectors an important insight into the life of a young American artist studying in Europe in the tumultuous decade following the Civil War.
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