William de Leftwich Dodge 1867 - 1935 American Painters
Best known for his expansive murals in the Library of Congress and the New York State Capitol in Albany, artist William de Leftwich Dodge was involved in artistic pursuits from an early age. When William was 12, his mother moved with her children to Europe to study to become an artist. At the age of 14, William began pursuing an academic artistic education. In 1885 he was admitted, first among the inductees, to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. There, he studied in the atelier of the prominent Academician, Jean-Léon Gérôme where he developed an historically accurate and realistic style inherited from the French Academic tradition. His earliest works were successful in the Parisian Salons as well as in American exhibitions and with the press. Dodge became renowned for his mural commissions, the first of which was the mural in the dome of Richard Morris Hunt’s Administration Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. His Beaux-Arts training provided him with the skills to render these monumental works in the grand-manner typical of history painting, successfully blending traditions inherited from Italian Renaissance and the French Academy in his murals. In 1906, after spending time abroad and across the United States working on various lucrative mural commissions, Dodge sought a country home for himself and his family. He personally picked the location of, designed, and built a Greek Revival house in Setauket, which he dubbed Villa Francesca. It became the setting and subject of many of Dodge’s easel works which, in a stylistic departure from his murals, he exhibited a much more Impressionistic sensibility.