Edwin Forbes (1839-1895). Plate 6. “Newspapers for the Army.” From Life Studies of the Great Army.
New York: Harry Johnson, 1876. 10 3/4 x 15 3/4 (image) plus plate marks and margins. Etching signed in the plate “…1876 E. Forbes.” Fine strike. Very good condition.
Edwin Forbes (1839-1895) served as a staff artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News during the Civil War and continued executing pictures of the war for the rest of his life. In 1876 he was awarded a medal at the Centennial Fair for his portfolio of etchings entitled Life Studies of the Great Army. This etching is of plate 6 from that series. He made pencil sketches, watercolors, and oil paintings on canvas as well as this fine and exciting etching. The date 1876 makes sense for it was in this time that he became an internationally known artist due to his work contributing to the World’s Fair in Philadelphia.
This strong piece of military history exploits the best use of etching by using an economy of line to illustrate how news of the battles was rushed to Washington and points north. Combat action ruined telegraphs, so the age old method of giving written descriptions and artists’ sketches to a rider on a fast horse was used extensively.