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Jerome Thompson

Jerome Thompson

American (1814-1886)

Jerome Thompson, American (1814-1886)

Jerome Thompson came from a family of painters. His father, Cephas, was a successful itinerant portrait painter and Jerome trained himself in the studio in Middleborough, Massachusetts as a portraitist in spite of his father's opposition. The elder Thompson encouraged his oldest son, Cephas Giovanni, but thought his younger son should become a farmer. Perhaps because of severe opposition, Jerome became the best known and best regarded of the Thompson painters. At age seventeen, he left home to follow a career as an itinerant portraitist. After four years, he settled in New York City where he had considerable success.

By 1844 he had changed his directory listing from "portrait painter" to "artist". This change coincided with his entry into genre painting. In a letter to the American Art Union dated September 5, 1848, Thompson wrote: "I herewith send a picture for sale - it is a composition called going to the 'Squires to be Married'" and for which I ask $150 - this is the second time I have ever offered a picture to the American Art Union." He exhibited extensively in many venues including the American Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Brooklyn Art Association. The painting that launched his career was "Pic Nic", first exhibited at the national Academy of Design in 1850, and again at the Pennsylvania Academy the next year. Genre paintings by Thompson are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Berkshire Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Evansville Museum of Arts.

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