Description: An artist turns to look at the photographer. He is seated in his studio surrounded by paintings. He holds a brush and palette and appears to be working on a western scene, positioned on the easel in front of him.
Historical Note: Gilbert Gaul, (1855-1919), was profoundly influenced by his love for military history and his family ties to Tennessee. Born in New Jersey, Gaul trained at the National Academy of Design in New York under Lemuel Wilmarth from 1872 to 1876 and also under John G. Brown at the Art Student's League in 1875. In 1882, Gaul was the youngest academician elected to the National Academy of Design and he appeared poised for a successful career in New York. "The Stragglers," one of Gaul's early military subjects, is part of the Academy's permanent collection. In 1882, Gaul won the American Art Association's gold medal for "Holding the Line at All Hazards." Gaul's life changed when he inherited a farm in Van Buren County in 1881. One of the conditions of ownership was that the painter live on the farm for at least five years. Gaul accepted the requirement, living on the site from roughly 1881 to 1886, and returning in the early 1890s and again from 1904-1910. In the early 1890s, Gaul painted a large commission, "Battery H 1st Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery in Action at Cold Harbor," for which he received a bronze medal at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He won other medals at the Paris Exposition of 1889 and at the Buffalo Exposition in 1902. Like many artists working the South, Gaul walked a fine line to appeal to both northern and southern audiences.
Institution: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Publisher: Digital Initiatives, James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University