Joseph Henry Sharp

American, 1859 - 1953
Joseph Henry Sharp
Born Ohio, 1859
Died California, 1953

Joseph Henry Sharp was educated in a public school in Ironton, Ohio, where he was raised. At age 14, he was forced to leave the public school because of an accident which rendered him deaf. He went on to study art at McMiccen Art Academy and later attended the Cincinnati Art Academy. In 1883, he made his first trip west traveling to New Mexico, California, and the Columbia River. On this trip, he sketched the numerous Indian tribes in an effort to document their disappearing cultures.

In 1901, Sharp worked for the Crow Agency (of the U.S. Government) and built a studio near Custer battlefield in Montana. He was commissioned to create a visual documentary of the Native Americans that opposed Custer. During this time, he painted over 200 portraits of Native Americans and photographed over 400 more. Sharp established permanent residence in Taos in 1912.

Later in his career, eleven of his paintings of famous Native Americans were purchased by the US government and hung in the Smithsonian Institute. A collection of 80 Indian portraits were purchased in 1902 by the University of California. Sharp is also one of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists, where he specialized in American Indian subjects and was an accomplished illustrator.

Further Reading: Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, Vol. 1. Peter Hastings Falk, Georgia Kuchen and Veronica Roessler, eds.,Sound View Press, Madison, Connecticut, 1999. 3 Vols.; Artists in California, 1786-1940, Edan Milton Hughes, Hughes Publishing, San Francisco, 1986.; The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, Peggy and Harold Samuels, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1976.

Biography courtesy of David Cook Galleries,
Joseph Henry Sharp a painter, illustrator and teacher, particularly noted for his depictions of the life in New Mexico in the early 20th century.

Born in Bridgeport, Ohio 1n 1859, Sharp made his way to Cincinnati to study at the McMicken School of Design and then at the Cincinnati Art Academy. In 1881, he went to Europe, studying with Charles Verlat in Antwerp, and on successive trips with Carl Marr in Munich and Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul Laurens in Paris. From 1892 to 1902, he taught the life class at the Cincinnati Art Academy during the winter, leaving his summers free for sketching trips which covered the entire West.

In 1902, Sharp began spending several months each year in Taos, New Mexico, painting the Pueblo Indians. in 1909, he acquired a permanent studio there, and became a charter member of the Taos Society of Artists in 1912.

Sharp's visits to Hawaii produced brilliant landscapes, seascapes and florals, known for their pastel shades and feathery touch. Sharp finally settled in California, painting beautiful desertscapes and traveling up and down the coast doing landscapes and seascapes that inspired him. He died in Pasadena in 1953.

American Federation of Artists
California Print Makers Society
Cincinnati Art Club
Salmagundi Club
Taos Society of Artist

Public Collections:
Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas
Butler Art Museum, Youngstown, Ohio
Cincinnati Art Museum
Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis
Houston Museum of Fine Art
Museum of Santa Fe, New Mexico
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries,
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