Elihu VEDDER (1836 -1923) ✿

Elihu Vedder (1836 -1923) was an American symbolist painter, book illustrator, and poet, born in New York City. He is best known for his fifty-five illustrations for Edward FitzGerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. He was born in New York City.

Vedder trained in New York City with Tompkins H. Matteson, then in Paris with François-Édouard Picot. Finally, he completed his studies in Italy where he was strongly influenced not only by Italian Renaissance work but also by the modern Macchiaioli painters and the living Italian landscape.
When Wedder returned to the United States during the American Civil War and made a small living undertaking commercial illustrations. He was involved in the bohemian 'Pfaff's' coffee house group and painted some of his most memorable paintings notable for their visionary nature, romantic imagery and often Oriental influences.
Paintings of this time include 'The Roc's Egg', 'The Fisherman and the Genii' and one of his most famous works, 'Lair of the Sea Serpent.' In the United States, Vedder sought out and befriended Walt Whitman, Herman Melville and William Morris Hunt. Vedder became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1865. At the end of the Civil War, Vedder left America to live in Italy.
Vedder visited England many times, and was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, and was a friend of Simeon Solomon. He was also influenced by the work of English and Irish mystics such as William Blake and William Butler Yeats. In 1890 Vedder helped establish the In Arte Libertas group in Italy.
Tiffany commissioned him to design glassware, mosaics and statuettes for the company. He decorated the hallway of the Reading Room of the Washington Library of Congress, and his mural paintings can still be seen there. Vedder occasionally returned to the United States, but lived only in Italy from 1906 until his death. He is buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome.

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