Thomas Wightman (1811–1888) was an American painter of the nineteenth century, noted especially for his portraits and still life paintings.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which are either natural or man-made.
Wightman was a native of Charleston, South Carolina. His parents were William and English-born Matilda Sandys Williams Wightman, described by the Southern Christian Advocate in 1882 as "in quite moderate circumstances," but "people of unusual intellect and intelligence, and of decidedly marked character"; his paternal grandfather, known as "Major Wightman" due to service in the American Revolutionary War, was a British native who operated a jewelry shop in the city. He was encouraged in his creative ambitions by his father, as was his brother John; another brother, William, would go on to become Methodist Bishop of South Carolina and president of Wofford College.His father was an amateur painter, Edward Greene Malbone painted miniature portraits of his parents, and the two men may have had some contact at that point. Otherwise, Wightman studied with Henry Inman in New York City; the date is not known, but might be around 1832, because he began contributing to the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design in that year. The catalog showed his address as 75 White Street, in a well-established neighborhood, indicating that he was already seeing some success as a painter. Somewhere between 1836 and 1841 he returned to Charleston for a visit, but he is known to have been back in New York by the summer of the latter year, for further study. He modeled his style of portraiture on that of Inman, and developed for himself a good clientele in both Charleston and New York. During the 1840s he traveled often between the two cities, but he was based in New York from 1837 to 1861; besides Charleston, he also frequently visited Augusta, Georgia, where his brother John operated a photographic studio and where his parents and sisters lived as well. He married a New Yorker, Isabella Jeanette Morris, in Augusta on February 19, 1837.
Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 134,875 in 2017. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.
Bishop William May Wightman (1808–1882) was an American educator and clergyman. He served as the President of Wofford College from 1853 to 1859. He served as the Chancellor of Southern University in Greensboro, Alabama from 1860 to 1866. He became a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1866.
Wightman became an associate of the National Academy in 1849, and contributed fairly steadily to annual exhibitions until 1854. He rarely offered an address with his submissions, which may indicate that he was an itinerant at this time,although a number of addresses around New York are known from this period in his career. He usually showed only one or two works in each show, either portraits or still life paintings of fruit; he first exhibited a "fruit piece" in the 1844 exhibition. His still lifes indicate some familiarity with the genre as it had been previously practiced by Dutch artists. He spent a good deal of time in Spartanburg, South Carolina as well between 1854 and 1859, when his brother was president of Wofford College, and a number of portraits by him, many of family members, remain in the college collection.
Dutch art describes the history of visual arts in the Netherlands, after the United Provinces separated from Flanders. Earlier painting in the area is covered in Early Netherlandish painting and Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting.
Spartanburg is the most populous city in and the seat of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States, and the 12th-largest city by population in the state. The city of Spartanburg has a municipal population of 37,013, and Spartanburg County has an urban population of 180,786 as of the 2010 census. The Spartanburg Metropolitan Statistical Area, including Spartanburg and Union counties, had a population of 317,057 as of the 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
The outbreak of the American Civil War caused a permanent break between Wightman, a Confederate sympathizer, and his wife, a Union supporter; the two never reconciled, although after the war Isabella went to live with their son William, who had served in the Confederate army.By the spring of 1861 the painter had returned south for good. He had moved to Augusta, Georgia by 1871, and assisted his brother John by hand-coloring photographs; he continued painting still life pictures as well, until his death in that city. He was buried in the family plot in Augusta's Magnolia Cemetery . A eulogy published in Academy minutes on the occasion of his death described him as an "excellent artist and a most worthy man". His son Horace also became a painter.
The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.
The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy and the South, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.
During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the Union, also known as the North, referred to the United States of America and specifically to the national government of President Abraham Lincoln and the 20 free states, as well as 4 border and slave states that supported it. The Union was opposed by 11 southern slave states that formed the Confederate States of America, also known as "the Confederacy" or "the South".
Two still life pieces by Wightman are today in the Johnson Collection of Southern Art in Spartanburg, South Carolina.A self-portrait, submitted upon his designation as Associate in 1849, remains in the collection of the National Academy.
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