Luminous-Lint - for collectors and connoisseurs of fine photography
HOME  BACK>>> Subscriptions <<< | Testimonials | Login | FREE NEWSLETTER

Getting around

 

HomeContentsVisual IndexesOnline ExhibitionsPhotographersGalleries and DealersThemes
AbstractEroticaFashionLandscapeNaturePhotojournalismPhotomontagePictorialismPortraitScientificStill lifeStreetWar
CalendarsTimelinesTechniquesLibrarySupport 
 

HomeContents > People > Photographers > J. Wells Champney

Names:
Born: James Wells Champney 
Dates:  1843, 16 July - 1903, 1 May
Born:  US, MA, Boston
Died:  US, NY, New York City
 
  

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for J. Wells Champney
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

 
  
James Wells Champney was born on July 16, 1843, in Boston, and served briefly in the military during the Civil War before undertaking a career as an artist.
 
He initially worked as a wood engraver in Boston, studied art in France and Antwerp, and returned to the United States in 1870 to open a studio in Boston. After illustrating popular magazines such as Scribner’s Monthly and exhibiting oil paintings (signed "Champ") in the Centennial Exhibition, he moved his studio to Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1876, and became a professor of art at nearby Smith College. In 1879, he opened another studio on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, where he became highly sought after by wealthy New Yorkers wishing painted portraits. Champney became America’s foremost pastellist, producing, in addition to his own original portraits, pastel copies of master paintings from European art galleries. He traveled frequently to Europe throughout his life and maintained his home in Deerfield as a summer workplace. His wife, Elizabeth Williams Champney, was a successful literary contributor to popular magazines and author of children’s books, many of which were illustrated by her husband.
 
Champney was active photographically from the late 1880s, when he exhibited his prints and lantern slides in members’ shows of the Society of Amateur Photography of New York. He was a founding member of the Camera Club of New York and highly visible as a club critic, committee member, and participant in discussions at the club’s monthly meetings.
 
He wrote for many photographic publications, including the American Annual of Photography, which ran eight articles by him between 1887 and 1901. He also contributed pieces to Camera Notes and Photographic Times, as well as a chapter on portrait lighting in W. I. Lincoln Adam’s 1897 book, Sunlight and Shadow. Alfred Stieglitz included in the October 1900 issue of Camera Notes a circular photogravure by Champney, of a women’s profile. Not surprisingly, Champney used photographs to aid his paintings, and some canvases show heavy reliance upon particular images.
 
J. Wells Champney had the dubious distinction of dying in the building that housed the Camera Club of New York, where, on May 1, 1903, he accidentally fell down the elevator shaft. 
  
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012) 
  
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission. 
  
Date last updated: 1 June 2013. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.
 
  

Further research

 
 Premium content for those who want to understand photography
 
References are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 
Subscriptions 
 
Portraits 
  
If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
 
  

Visual indexes

 
 Premium content for those who want to understand photography
 
Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 
Subscriptions 
 
  
 
  
 
  
HOME  BACK>>> Subscriptions <<< | Testimonials | Login | FREE NEWSLETTER
 Facebook LuminousLint 
 Twitter @LuminousLint