LaFarge, Bancel (1875-1938)
Bancel LaFarge was born in 1875 in Newport, Rhode Island. He was the son of John LaFarge, a famous 19th century artist. He married Mabel Hooper in 1898. She was an artist in her own right who had studied under John LaFarge. She could trace her family back to Commodore Oliver Perry. During this period of his life, LaFarge was an assistant to his father in his New York studio. Five years later Bancel LaFarge moved his family to Europe, where he lived for 12 years. During his time abroad he studied drawing and painting in Paris. His latter work was inspired by Byzantine mosaics and can be found in chapels throughout the United States. According to the obituary in the New York Times, LaFarge had a “deep love and understanding of nature” that appeared in his pastel and oil works. He was a member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, the American Institute of Architects, and the National Society of Mural Painters. He served as the president of the Liturgical Arts Society, was an associate fellow of Davenport College at Yale University, the President of the Sleeping Giant Park Association, and a Member of the Connecticut State Commission on Sculpture. LaFarge had four sons, L. Bancel, Edward H., Henry A., and Thomas H. LaFarge. During the Depression, while working on various art projects funded by New Deal programs, LaFarge’s son, Thomas, helped him. In 1934 Bancel LaFarge began work on a lunette in the New Haven Public Library under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The project was completed under WPA Federal Arts Project funds. LaFarge passed away on August 15, 1938, and is buried in Newport.
Sources: AskART; Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters (1987), p. 513; Forbes Watson, “Murals for a New Day,” New York Times, August 4, 1935; Obituary, New York Times, August 15, 1938; Obituary of Mabel Hooper LaFarge, New York Times, September 29, 1944. Please note that the John La Farge and LaFarge Family Papers, 1850-1972, are at the Smithsonian. See the finding aid at http://siris-archives.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?uri=full=3100001~!208819!0.
Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from Bancel LaFarge:
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