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John La Farge Edit Profile

decorator , muralist , painter

John La Farge was an American painter, muralist, decorator, and writer.


La Farge was born in 1835 in New York City, United States to wealthy French parents and was raised bilingually.


His interest in art began during his studies at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland and St. John's College (now Fordham University) in New York. He initially intended to study law, but this changed after his first visit to Paris, France in 1856.


While a student with William M. Hunt in Newport, R. I. , La Farge achieved an imaginative, poetic style in his flower paintings and landscapes, but his later work entitles him to the position of America's first great mural painter. His murals decorate many public buildings and churches, including Trinity Church, Boston, and the Church of the Ascension, New York. La Farge also developed a particularly brilliant type of stained glass. Among his books on art and travel, Considerations on Painting is noteworthy.


  • Among La Farge's many stained-glass works are windows at: Trinity Church, Boston (1877–78), First Unitarian Church of Detroit (1890), First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia (1891), Trinity Episcopal Church in Buffalo, New York (1886–89) and many others.

    He was one of the first seven artists chosen for membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

    He received the Cross of the Legion of Honor from the French Government.


Though naturally a questioner, he venerated the traditions of religious art, and preserved his Catholic faith.


In 1863 he was elected into the National Academy of Design.


He learned several languages (ancient and modern), and was erudite in literature and art.


  • Other Interests

    He was a pioneer in the study of Japanese art, the influence of which is seen in his work.


He was married on October 15, 1860 at Newport, Rhode Island, to Margaret Mason Perry, who was born on February 26, 1839 in Newport, Rhode Island, and died on May 2, 1925. La Farge had eight children.

Margaret Mason Perry

Joseph Raymond (who did not survive infancy),

Margaret Angela

Christopher Grant

partner in the New York-based architectural firm of Heins & LaFarge

John Louis Bancel

John, Jr.

Jesuit priest and a strong supporter of anti-racist policies

Frances Aimee

Oliver Hazard Perry

architect and real estate developer

Emily Marie