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Ambrose Andrews

(1805-1877)

Sources disagree in the small amount of information available about the itinerant artist Ambrose Andrews. Most say that Andrews was born in West Stockbridge, MA in 1805. He studied at the National Academy of Design, NYC in 1824, and he became a painter of landscapes, portraits and miniatures. Andrews started to work as a full time artist shortly after 1824 and was active throughout his life. One gallery states: “He worked in Schuylerville, New York in 1824, in Troy, New York from 1829 to 1831, in Stockbridge, MA in 1836, in New Haven, CT in 1837, in New Orleans from 1841 to 1842, in New York City from 1847 to 1853, and in Buffalo, NY and St. Louis, MO from 1856 to 1859.” Dr. William H. Gerdts, in Art Across America, Two Centuries of Regional Painting 1710-1920, states that he arrived in Texas in 1837, and then began his journey north. One of the most interesting accounts can be found in Lars Gustaf Sellstedt’s book, Art in Buffalo, published in Buffalo by the Matthews-Northrup Works in 1910 (pages 23-25), in which we learn his real surname was Isaacs and Andrew Andrews was his stage name, as an actor. He studied with the esteemed American luminist landscape painter, Jaspar Francis Cropsey (1823-1900). Here is the most descriptive paragraph, transcribed:

Up to this time no regular school of art had been formed in the city, but there arrived an old and experienced actor who, besides his duty as stage-manager of the Eagle Street Theater, found time to conduct a school for landscape painting, having himself taken lessons in that branch of art from the late Mr. Cropsey of New York. His stage name, by which he was known at the time, was Andrew Andrews, his real name being Isaacs. By birth he was a Hebrew of Jamaica. He was one of the most liberal of men and exceedingly companionable. His capacity as artist, limited wholly to the imitation or copying of prints, consisted in a very neat and artistic touch of foliage in the style of his quondam instructor. He painted with great rapidity, being able to cover a large canvas with quite a remarkable landscape in a day, a celerity which he modestly attributed to spiritual aid, in which he fully believed. His class in painting was quite large, often as many as thirty pupils, mostly society ladies who filled their walls with their own pictures, every one of which received the finishing touches from the instructor’s own hand. If a figure was wanted, either Mr. Beard or the writer, who often visited the school, was asked to supply it. It was here that Buffalo’s distinguished artist, C. C. Coleman, now of Capri, being then a boy, got his first lessons in painting.