|HENRY CHEEVER PRATT (1803-1880). American Landscape, Portrait Painter.|
Born in Oxford, New Hampshire, Henry Pratt became a portrait and panoramic landscape painter whose primary reputation is for the work he completed as an artist for the 1850 U.S. Mexican Boundary Survey.
His talent was discovered by Samuel F.B. Morse who saw the young artist's paintings on a barn door and took him to Boston as his assistant. He also got him enrolled in the classes of Samuel Finley and then took him in 1819 and 1820 to Charleston, South Carolina as a painting assistant.
By 1825, Pratt had a studio in Boston where he was a successful portrait painter and exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum. He did numerous sketching trips into the nearby mountains with his good friend, Thomas Cole, who, like Morse, encouraged his interest in portraying sublime aspects of the landscape.
In 1851, Pratt joined John R. Bartlett's Mexican Boundary Survey as the official artist to depict the topography of the border region between the United States and Mexico. During this time, he did portraits of Bartlett and James Magoffin, another survey leader. However, Pratt fought with Bartlett, who omitted hundreds of Pratt's drawings and substituted his own, so Pratt published his own illustrated version.
In 1852 in San Diego, he held an exhibition of his canvases, oil paintings refined from his survey artist trips, and this exhibition was the first widely attended art show in California. He died in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
Biographical reference: Askart.com