Junius Brutus Stearns

Artist Biography

Born Lucius Sawyer in Arlington, Vermont, Junius Brutus Stearns changed his name after a falling out with his father over his artistic aspirations. A successful portrait, genre, and history painter in the mid nineteenth century, Stearns reached national recognition through the reproduction of prints of his series on the life of George Washington. He first exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1838, and in 1850 was elected academician. He served as the academy’s recording secretary from 1851 to 1865. In 1850, Stearns journeyed to Europe and spent time in both Paris and London. Scenes of children fishing were a favorite subject of the artist, who enjoyed injecting a bit of humor into his subjects’ follies. An 1850 example of this subject matter is in the Butler Institute of American Art, and his paintings are also in the collections of the New-York Historical Society and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

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