From New England Magazine

George Fuller.

by Sidney Dickinson.

      The death of George Fuller has removed a strong and original figure from the activity of American art, and added a weighty name to its history. To speak of him now, while his work is fresh in the public mind, is a labor of some peril; so easy is it, when the sense of loss is keen, to make mistakes in judgment, and to allow the friendly spirit to prevail over the judicial, in an estimation of him as a man and a painter. Yet he has gone in and out before us long enough to make a study of him profitable, and to give us, even now, some occasion for an opinion as to the place he is likely to occupy in the annals of our native art. Mr. Fuller held a peculiar position in American painting, and one which seems likely to remain hereafter unfilled. He followed no one, and had no followers; his art was the outgrowth of personal temperament and experience, rather than the result of teaching, and although he studied others, he was himself his only master. In other men whose names are prominent in our art, we seem to see the direction of an outside influence. Stuart and Copley confessed to the teaching of the English school of their day — a school brilliant but formal, and holding close guiding-reins over its disciples; Benjamin West became denationalized, so far as his art was concerned; Allston showed the impression of England, Italy, and Flanders, all at once, in his refined and thoughtful style, and Hunt manifested in every stroke of his brilliant brush the learned and facile methods that are in vogue in the leading ateliers of modern Paris. In these men, and in the followers whom their preëminent ability drew after them, we perceive the dominant impulse to be of alien origin; Fuller alone, of all the great ones in our art, was in thought and action purely and simply American. The influence that led others into the error of imitation, seems to have been exerted unavailingly upon his self-reliant mind. We shall search vainly if we look elsewhere than within himself for the suggestions upon which his art was established. Superficial resemblances to other painters are sometimes to be noted in his works, but in governing principle and habit of thought he was serenely and grandly alone.

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