11430 PAINTING OF A BLACK CHEF BY JAMES FAGAN (1864–1940) Signed and Dated, New York. 1889. Measurements: Framed: Height: 20 1/4″ (51.4 cm); Width: 15 3/8″ (39 cm); Unframed: Height: 15″ (38.1 cm); Width: 10″(25.4 cm).
Oil on canvas.
Signed and dated, lower right:
James Fagan (1864-1940) was artist from Fordham, New York, who specialized in etchings of portraits, often based on another artist’s work, as well as genre scenes. Many of Fagan’s prints are signed Jas. (a common abbreviation for the name James) Fagan, and include a trademark small vignette below the main image. Fagan contributed prints to John Muir’s Picturesque California and the Region West of the Rocky Mountains from Alaska to Mexico (1888-1890) and H.H. Bancroft’s Achievements of Civilization (1896-1900), and a series of Portraits of Famous Men published by Charles Barmore in the mid-1890s that included Generals W.T. Sherman, P.H. Sheridan, and Ulysses S. Grant, the latter described as “one of the largest and most brilliant etchings ever produced in this country” and “the crowing effort of [the artist’s] life.”1 While Fagan was hailed as “[occupying] the very first rank among living etchers,”2 he also produced oil paintings and exhibited at the Salmagundi Club in New York City, one of the oldest art organizations in the United States, founded in 1871.
1. A Brief History of P.h. Ballings Original Oil Painting of General Ulysses S. Grant “in the Trenches Before Vicksburg” and a Description of Jas. Fagan’s Magnificent Etching. New York: Herman Linde, Art Publisher, 1890.
Research report available on request.