Media File
John Sartain
Date: American printmaker, miniaturist, 1808–1897
Biography: Born in London, Sartain would become a fixture in the Philadelphia art scene, introducing the mezzotint process to the United States. Sartain moved to Philadelphia at 22 years old, already trained as a line and mezzotint engraver. He had no difficulty finding an outlet for his skills. Sartain painted portraits in oil and miniatures in watercolor on ivory, as well as engraving vignettes for banknotes, drawing on wood for book illustrations, and engraving plates for magazine illustrations. He was involved with the publication of multiple magazines including Sartain's Union Magazine from 1849 to 1852. Sartain was deeply involved with his city's art institutions, including the Artists' Fund Society and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Sartain was in charge of the art department for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. Of Sartain's eight children with his wife Susannah Longmate Swaine, four became artists. His son William was a member of the National Academy of Design and a founder of the Society of American Artists. His daughter Emily became the principal of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, where she hired talented and progressive instructors like Robert Henri.