John Joseph Enneking

Artist Biography

Duly noted as one of American’s most celebrated painters, John Joseph Enneking found both professional and financial success during the late nineteenth century.  Enneking spent his childhood in Cincinnati and later studied art at St. Mary’s College.  Like many youths of his period, Enneking joined the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War and devoted a number of years to this service during which he was badly wounded.  After making a full recovery, he traveled to New York City to begin his art career, but quickly moved to Boston.  It was here that Enneking truly developed as an artist.

Upon his arrival in Boston, Enneking once again took up his studies, this time with the well-known landscape painter, Samuel L. Gerry.  In 1872, he traveled to Munich where he continued his lessons in art; later, the artist traveled to Venice for a brief period before settling in Paris for three years.  While in France, Enneking eagerly explored current trends in art such as the newest, more painterly style, Impressionism.  Significantly, he was acquainted with leading French artists of the time including Claude Monet (with whom he was rumored to have painted), Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro.

Enneking returned to Boston in 1876 and quickly set up a personal studio where he could create new paintings that incorporated his unique vision of the American landscape with those experiences gained while abroad.  Soon, Enneking was honored with his first solo exhibition at the Williams & Everett Gallery in Boston.  The show proved to be a success and strengthened his career.  During the following years, Enneking and his work continued to be featured in a number of New England newspapers, one of which claimed that “Nobody [got] more of rich color and hazy atmosphere into his wood and pasture scenes . . .” In addition, Enneking exhibited at numerous venues including the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  Today, his work can be viewed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Butler Institute of American Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Selected Bibliography

Falk, Peter Hastings, ed.. Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America.  Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.

Greta.  “Boston Correspondence.”  The Art Amateur; A Monthly Journal Devoted to Art in the Household  15, no. 1 (June 1886): 4.

Hunter, Elizabeth Ives.  “John Joseph Enneking (1840-1916).”  American Art Review XVIII, no. 1 (January – February 2006): 96-99.

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