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Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Jean Leon Gerome Ferris was an American painter best known for his series of 78 scenes from American history, entitled The Pageant of a Nation, the largest series of American historical paintings by a single artist.

Ferris was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father was a portrait painter who loved the work of artist Jean-Léon Gérôme. And so he named his son after this famous painter. It’s. no wonder Jean Leon grew up to be such a famous painter. With the name of a famous painter, a painter father, and a very famous painter uncle, Thomas Moran, Jean Leon was destined to paint.

His dream had always been to create a series of paintings that told the story of American history. In 1898, he sold a painting called General Howe’s Levee, but then he later realized he shouldn’t separate the paintings in his series, so he never sold another painting again. He made money on the prints, postcards, calendars, and other items created from his paintings.

His American history series paintings showed portrayals of famous moments from American history. The complete series was shown at Independence Hall in Philadelphia from 1913 to 1930, then moved next door to Congress Hall.

In later years, it was shown in a number of locations, including the Smithsonian Institution, before finally being returned to the Ferris family.

The Mayflower Compact
The First Thanksgiving
Captain Kidd in New York Harbor
Landing of William Penn
Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776
Franklin’s Return to Philadelphia, 1785