John Lewis Krimmel

May 30, 1786 - Jul 15, 1821

John Lewis Krimmel, sometimes called "the American Hogarth" was America's first painter of genre scenes. Born in Germany, he emigrated to Philadelphia in 1809 and soon became a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Initially influenced by Scotland's David Wilkie, England's William Hogarth and America's Benjamin West, he soon turned to direct observation of life for his genre scenes. He was among the first artists in America to portray free blacks, such as in Black People's Prayer Meeting. Among his still frequently reproduced paintings are Fourth of July, Center Square and Election Day, both filled with lively characterizations of scores of crowd members. Krimmel died in a swimming accident at the age of 35. Among the prominent American artists influenced by Krimmel's work are William Sidney Mount, George Caleb Bingham, and Thomas Eakins.
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