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HomeContents > People > Photographers > George K. Warren

Other: G.K. Warren 
Other: George Kendall Warren 
Other: Warren 
Dates:  1824 - 1884
Born:  US, NH, Nashua
Died:  US, MA, Medford
Active:  US
American Daguerreotypist and photographer who recorded the architecture and environs of the college towns of the north east. From 1851 to 1870 he was based in Lowell, Massachusetts but then moved to Boston (MA) in 1870. He published sets of cartes-de-visite on the towns of Lexington, Concord, Waterford and Cambridge. He also took photographs of the graduating classes of many eastern colleges.

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George K. Warren
Self Portrait wearing a straw hat 
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George Kendall Warren
American, 1824-1884

Warren began making daguerreotypes in 1852 in Lowell, MA. He moved to Cambridgeport, MA, across the river from Boston, in 1858 or 60. He began making photographs for college "class books" or yearbooks in 1858, probably starting with Dartmouth. From 1858 till his death in 1884 he traveled the north east making photographs at Harvard, Williams, Brown, Weslyan, Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, Dartmouth, Union, and West Point. He was selected by the senior class at these schools year after year because of the high quality and strength of his portraits. At the same time he photographed the campus and surrounding area of each school. The quality of his printing is remarkable not only in the beautiful tonal range, but also the number of his prints that have survived without fading.
His body of northeastern landscape photography is the largest and perhaps the most important of the late 1850s and 1860s. No other early photographer working with a large format camera has painted the eastern landscape like Warren. He had a sharp eye for composition and developed some compositional styles new to American painting and photography. He favored early morning or late afternoon winter light which emphasized the light and shadows of trees. Many compositions include a bold central form leading away from the camera, like a path, road, tree or lamppost. He may have been aware of the luminist and Hudson River painters of his day. His view of East Rock, New Haven, Connecticut, is from an almost identical perspective as Frederick Church's famous painting of the same subject.
Warren's body of work is also unusual for including portraits of workers in working clothes. Photographs of African Americans and workers from this period are rare in early American photographs.
Warren's portraiture was also well respected. Most of the country's best schools hired him year after because of the strength of his portraits. His studio also attracted President Franklin Pierce and most of the prominent actors, actresses, Civil War Generals and assorted celebrities that lived in Boston or visited. Warren died in an accident with a train in Medford, Ma. 1884.
2000 Acquisitions: The Hallmark Art Collection, The Hallmark Photographic Collection Keith F. Davis. 2000. Hallmark Cards, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri.
Addison Gallery of American Art: 65 Years Susan Faxon. 1996. Addison Gallery, Andover.
The American Daguerreotype Floyd Rinhart, Marion Rinhart. 1981. The University of Georgia Press.
American Photographs: The First Century Merry A. Foresta. 1997. Smithsonian Institution Press.
Citizens In Conflict: Prints and Photographs of the American Civil War Sally Pierce, Temple D. Smith. 1981. The Boston Athenaeum.
Common Ground: Discovering Community in 150 Years of Art Judy Norrell. 2004. Merrell, New York.
Craig's Daguerreian Registry: Volume 1, The Overview John S. Craig. 1994. John S. Craig.
Craig's Daguerreian Registry: Volume 3, Pioneers and Progress--MacDonald to Zuky John S. Craig. 1996. John S. Craig.
A Curious and Ingenious Art: Reflections on Daguerreotypes at Harvard Melissa Banta. 2000. Harvard University Press & University of Iowa Press.
History of Photography Spring 2000 Mike Weaver, Anne Hammond. 2000. Taylor & Francis, London.
Photography in America: The Formative Years 1839-1900, A Documentary History William Welling. . Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
Photography and the American Scene Robert Taft. 1942. The MacMillan Company.
Photography in Nineteenth-Century America Martha A. Sandweiss, essays by Alan Trachtenberg, Barbara McCandless, Keith F. Davis, Peter Bacon Hales, Sarah Greenough. 1991. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
[Contributed by Lee Gallery]  

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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
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