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Joseph Pennell Edit Profile

artist , author

Joseph Pennell was an American artist and author.


Joseph Pennell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States on the 4th of July 1860.


He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.


Pennell found work etching historic landmarks and illustrating travel articles and books for American publishers.

In 1884 he went to Europe and made his home in London. He produced numerous books, both as an author and as an illustrator, many of them in collaboration with his wife, but his chief distinction is as an original etcher and lithographer, and notably as an illustrator.

Their close acquaintance with Whistler led to Mr and Mrs Pennell undertaking a biography of that artist in 1906, and, after some litigation with his executrix on the right to use his letters, the book was published in 1908.

Pennell moved back to the United States during World War I.


  • During his lifetime Pennell produced more than 900 etchings and mezzotints and more than 600 lithographs on architectural and landscape subjects ranging from the Panama Canal and Yosemite National Park to the factories of England and the temples of Greece.

    Pennell helped to spur the revival of printmaking and print collecting during the first two decades of the 20th century.

    He won a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle (1900), and 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition.



His wife was Elizabeth Robins Pennell.

Elizabeth Robins Pennell

James Abbott McNeill Whistler