Art & Design Magazine

New York Etching Club: Henry Farrer

By Adventuresintheprinttrade
Although the first meeting of the New York Etching Club in 1877 was in the studio of J. D. Smillie, the meetings soon moved their regular venue to the studio of Henry Farrer, one of the club's co-founders and most active members. Etchings were printed on a press built by Farrer himself. Of all the Etching Club artists, I think Farrer is my favourite. Unlike R. Swain Gifford, the subject of my last post, Farrer did not favour a less-is-more economy of line. Instead his moody landscapes and seascapes are intensely worked, deeply bitten, and often almost impenetrably dark with cross-hatched lines.
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, On New York BayEtching, 1879
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, MarineEtching, 1880
Henry Farrer was born in London in 1843. He emigrated to the USA in 1863 at the age of twenty. Farrer was very much a driving force in the American etching revival. Most of his etchings are seascapes or landscapes, though the first, made in 1868, were views of New York buildings.
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, The LighthouseEtching, 1881
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, Sunset, Gowanus BayEtching, 1880
Most of Henry Farrer's seascapes are views of New York Harbor, a subject he rendered with great vigour and great sensitivity.
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, Sunset, New York HarborEtching, 1879
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, TwilightEtching, 1880
Farrer loved the mysterious time of twilight, when the world hovers between daylight and darkness, and returned to sunset scenes time and again.
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, Woods in WinterEtching, 1880
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, DecemberEtching, 1879
Wintry scenes were another staple of Henry Farrer's art. Something in him responded to the dying months of the year just as it did to the last rays of the setting sun.
New York Etching Club: Henry FarrerHenry Farrer, The Last Walk in AutumnEtching, 1881
Henry Farrer's older brother, Thomas Charles Farrer, was also an artist, who studied under John Ruskin and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. In America, Thomas founded the idealistic, Pre-Raphaelite, Society for the Advancement of Art and Truth, of which Henry became a member. However, Henry Farrer soon went beyond his brother's Pre-Raphaelite influence, adopting a tonalist approach in his watercolours and etchings. As well as the New York Etching Club, Henry Farrer also co-founded the American Watercolor Society. Henry Farrer died in 1903.

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