H. Cyrus Farnum
1866 - 1926
Farnum was a well traveled late nineteenth century painter of unquestionable ability. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, he studied at the Academy Julien under J. Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant in 1893. Upon his return to Providence he occupied a studio at the Butler Exchange where he completed several portraits of governors, mayors and local politicians. Like most artists of the day, the demand for public portraiture was an important source of income to subsidize his career as a professional artist. Farnum’s technical skill was well developed and he had the uncanny ability to capture the sublities of nature scenes, such as the quality of a soft atmosphere or a dusty road. His paintings were well executed, capturing activity in a fluid and poetic manner.
It was for his paintings of Algiers and other parts of Africa that he became well known. Not only did Americans have a fascination with orientalia in the late nineteenth century, but very few artists travelled to the exotic lands that Farnum had visited and painted. Among his accolades was the acceptance of an 1896 landscape into the Royal Academy of Arts in London, a distinction accorded few American artists. He was a member of the Providence Art Club and Providence Water Color Club and his works are represented in several major museums across the country.