Artist Biography

Seymour Joseph Guy

(1824 - 1910)

Table of Contents

    Although born in England, Seymour Joseph Guy became one of America’s most famous genre painters, celebrated for his delicate portrayal of young women in domestic environments. Little is known of Guy’s training; however, it is speculated that the marine painter James Buttersworth served as his teacher – a likely connection given the pair’s shared attention to detail and exquisite execution. Guy immigrated to America in 1854 and immediately entered the artists’ circles present in New York, mainly forging his path as a portraitist and later, a genre painter. His associations act as a testament to his immediate popularity: in 1861 he was listed as a founding member of the Brooklyn Art Association and named an associate of the National Academy the next year. Guy also joined top painters such as Sanford Robinson Gifford, Jervis McEntee, and T. Worthington Whittredge in the Tenth Street Studio building in 1863 (Guy may be seen in the famous photograph taken in Whittredge’s studio along with eleven other prominent artists of the day) and was named an academician of the National Academy in 1865. Today he is known as one of the most beloved genre painters of the nineteenth century. His works may be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New-York Historical Society, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Selected Bibliography:
    Dearinger, David B., ed. Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design. New York; Manchester, V.T.: Hudson Hills Press, 2004.
    Edwards, Lee M. Domestic Bliss: Family Life in American Painting, 1840 – 1910. Yonkers, N.Y.: Hudson River Museum, 1986.
    Lubin, David M. Picturing a Nation: Art and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.

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