Saturday, October 13, 2007

St. Francis de Sales, Downtown

St. Francis de Sales has a particularly important set of Stations of the Cross. They were painted by William Henry Machen, who has been called "the most prolific artist in Ohio's history." Machen was born at Arnhem, in the Netherlands, in 1832. He studied there, with his uncle, a portrait painter, before coming to America with his family, in 1847. The family settled in Toledo in 1848, and Machen remained here for more than thirty years. His work was wide ranging. Of local interest are scenes of early Toledo, now at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. He also painted portraits and military scenes.
It was as a nature painter that Machen really excelled. He painted a series of fish species for the U.S. Fish Commission, as well as a variety of animal, plant, and landscape works.
Machen moved to Detroit in 1882, and taught art at Detroit College and at a convent school in Grosse Pointe. He died in Washington, D.C. in 1911, but was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Toledo.
There are also two smaller paintings by Machen at St. Francis de Sales, including this Flight into Egypt.

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