William Page was an artist born in New York. Page studied at Phillips Academy, Andover in 1828-29. As a young man, he worked for a law firm before studying with portraitist James Herring in 1825. In 1827, he studied with Samuel Morse, also from Phillips Academy. His painting "Cupid and Psyche", completed in 1843 for the National Academy Exhibition was rejected by the Academy jury because of its overt eroticism.
William Page (American artist, 1811-1885) Charlotte Cushman 1853
In New York state & Boston, he established himself as a portraitist before sailing to Italy in 1849, where he lived for 11 years. There he became friends with Robert & Elizabeth Browning, whose portraits he painted. Though Page won the esteem of such patrons as the British poets Robert & Elizabeth Barrett Browning, he never achieved wide popular success. In the US, he was also a friend of James Russell Lowell, who dedicated his first collection of poems to him in 1843. In Europe, Page became involved with spiritualism, briefly abandoning art to study for the ministry. In 1860, he returned to the U.S.
William Page (American artist, 1811-1885) Mary Page, Daughter of Artist William Page
Page was married 3 times; the first 2 marriages, to Lavinia Twibill & Sara A. Dougherty respectively, ended in divorce. He had 3 daughters with his 1st wife. His 3rd wife was Sophia Candace Stevens Hitchcock, daughter of Henry Stevens, an American bibliographer & bookseller, with whom he had 6 children.
William Page (American artist, 1811-1885) Sarah Augusta Page 1843
He worked with photographer Matthew Brady & others on portraits of Civil War heroes. From 1871 to 1873, he was President of the National Academy of Design, but was not particularly popular with his peers who regarded his work as idiosyncratic. Although extravagantly praised as an artist from the 1830s into the 1860s, Page's reputation suffered in later life. He died in 1885, aged 74 on Staten Island.
To learn more about William Page, go to the Smithsonian Archives of American Art here.