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William Joseph Armitage

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William Joseph Armitage

(London, England, 1817 - 1890, San Francisco, California)

This painting is one of only about a dozen known works by this important artist. Armitage was an English painter who immigrated to Utah in 1881, having been converted to the Mormon faith in his native country. This small painting depicts an aged Abraham teaching his young son, Isaac. The arrangement of the figures shows Armitage’s familiarity with classical prototypes and composition; however his rendering lacks the sophistication of significant training. The small scale of the work, the detailed, thin lines, rich enameled colors and feathery paint strokes are reminiscent of English miniature paintings of the period. Upon his arrival in Salt Lake, Armitage taught drawing at the University of Deseret (now University of Utah) and also painted large murals for the LDS Church. He passed away in 1890 in San Francisco California.

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