Sydney Laurence

Artist Biography

Although born in Brooklyn, Sydney Laurence would become known as a famous painter of Alaska during his lifetime. Laurence began life as a rambunctious youth, running away to the sea in his teenage years. He later settled in New York where he joined the National Academy of Design and studied the principles of art under Edward Moran. In pursuit of further study, Laurence traveled to the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1899; he would remain in Europe, traveling between England and France, for a number of years. After working as a war correspondent in England, Laurence returned to the United States where he was swept up in the country’s gold rush. The artist traveled to Alaska and tried his hand at a number of jobs while continuing his painting efforts. Laurence was captivated by the landscape of Alaska complete with its snow laden forests and hovering peaks, such as Mount McKinley. He planned an expedition to this famous summit in the 1910s and returned with a number of sketches from which he drew inspiration for later canvases. Laurence exhibited his works at the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annual, and the Salon des Artistes Français; his paintings are currently owned by the National Museum of American Art and the Anchorage Historical and fine Arts Museum.

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