He was a painter who could barely hold a brush. He had to move his entire body to mix his colors. Yet William T. Trego (1858-1909) was a prize-winning artist with an international reputation, and his highly detailed and powerful battle scenes from the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War were widely exhibited and critically acclaimed during the late nineteenth century. Partially paralyzed by polio as a child, Trego never experienced the horrors of war, but his uncanny ability to portray battle from the point of view of fighting men and horses was much admired.
The first full-length study of Trego's life and art, So Bravely and So Well places him in the context of both his world and the art of his time. Previously unexplored original source materials as well as studies of his surviving work have enhanced and altered what has been known thus far of Trego's career. In addition to a full discussion of his history paintings, this volume explores his largely unknown work as a sculptor, illustrator, and genre painter. The book also tells the story of the artist's remarkable personal life: his fierce determination to support himself, failed romances, and ultimately tragic end.
Distributed for the James A. Michener Art Museum.
Joseph P. Eckhardt is Emeritus Professor of History at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. His previous work, The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer, Siegmund Lubin, was published in 1998.