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About the Collection
Edwin Forbes (1839-1895) was an American landscape painter and etcher best known for his sketches of military life during the American Civil War (1861-1865). As a staff artist for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Forbes traveled with various contingents of the Union Army and was particularly interested in common soldiers' daily lives as well as more traditional subjects like generals and battles. Following the war, Forbes published two volumes of his military etchings: Life Studies of the Great Army: A Historical Art Work in Copper Plate Etching Containing Forty Plates (1876), whose plates comprise this collection; and Thirty Years After: An Artist's Story of the Great War Told and Illustrated with Nearly 300 Relief-etchings after Sketches in the Field and 20 Half-tone Equestrian Portraits from Original Oil Paintings (1891). Both volumes were well-received, especially Life Studies, for which Forbes received a gold medal at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia (1876). General William T. Sherman also purchased a set of the Life Studies plates for his office in the War Department. In 1919 the Library of Congress acquired a large collection of Forbes' wartime work, including drawings, plates and the original impressions from Life Studies.
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