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Dames Players, Jean Leon Jerome Ferris, 1859

Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (August 8, 1863 – March 18, 1930[1]) was an American painter best known for his series of 78 scenes from American history, entitled The Pageant of a Nation, the largest series of American historical paintings by a single artist.

His early subjects were Orientalist in nature since that movement was in vogue when he was young. In 1882, he exhibited a painting entitled Feeding the Ibis which was valued at $600. By 1895, he had gained a reputation as a historical painter, and he embarked on his dream of creating a series of paintings that told a historical narrative. In 1898, he sold General Howe's Levee, 1777, but he later realized that such a series could not be complete if the separate paintings could not be kept together. Consequently, he never sold another, but he did sell the reproduction rights to various publishing companies. This had the effect of greatly popularizing his work, as these companies made prints, postcards, calendars, and blank-backed trade cards to use in advertisements. Laminated cards of these works were still being sold as late as 1984.

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