Mini Biography: Emily Sartain

Birth: March 17, 1841
Death: June 17, 1927
Nationality: American
Movement: Mezzotint Engraving
Born into a family of artists and printers in Philadelphia, PA Sartain was well educated and encouraged to pursue an art career. After a Grand Tour chaperoned by her father Sartain studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and became acquainted with both Mary Cassatt and Thomas Eakins. In addition to learning the mezzotint engraving process from her father she also studied printmaking in Italy before spending 4 years in Paris studying painting. Upon her return to the United States in 1875 Sartain exhibited both her paintings and etchings and won a gold medal for The Reproof at the first World’s Fair ever held in the United States (the telephone and Heinz Ketchup made their debut during that event as well.) Sartain became the director of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, now called Moore College of Art, in 1886 and introduced nude figure drawing with both male and female models. She brought the rigor and professionalism more typical of art instruction for men to a women’s art school. Sartain served as the director of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women for approximately 34 years and formed one of America’s oldest art clubs called The Plastic Club. Originally a women’s art club it started accepting male members in the early 1990’s.
Some of her notable work includes: The Reproof (bef. 1876), Three Figures Reviewing a Map which is shown below, and President Lincoln and Son (unknown). The header image is an altered version of Three Figures.
3 figures
Sartain, Emily. Three Figures Reviewing a Map (year unknown).  
To see more of Emily Sartain’s work visit:
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
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