Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Nast, Thomas

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NAST, Thomas, caricaturist, b. in Landau, Bavaria, 27 Sept., 1840. He was brought to the United States by his father in 1846. When a boy of fourteen he spent about six months in the drawing classes of Theodore Kaufmann, and then, with no other preparatory art-instruction, was engaged as a draughtsman on an illustrated paper. In 1860 he went to England as special artist of a New York weekly paper, and thence he went to Italy, where he followed Garibaldi, making sketches for the “New York Illustrated News,” the “London Illustrated News,” and “Le Monde illustré” of Paris. He returned to New York in 1861, and in July, 1862, began drawing war sketches for “Harper's Weekly.” His very first political caricature, an allegorical design that gave a powerful blow to the peace party, was a success; it brought him at once into public notice, and he immediately became popular. Besides his work for “Harper's Weekly,” by which he is best known, he has drawn for other comic papers, has illustrated several books, notably those of “Petroleum V. Nasby,” and for several years after 1872 he issued “Nast's Illustrated Almanac.” In 1866 he executed a series of sixty caricatures of well-known men in water-colors for “Bal d'opera,” and in 1873 he lectured in the principal cities of the United States, drawing caricatures on the stage, by way of illustration, in black and white, and also with colored crayons. He appeared again on the lecture platform in 1885, executing landscapes in oil and other sketches with extreme rapidity, and a third time in 1887. In his particular line, pictorial satire, Nast stands in the foremost rank, and his talent in that respect has been productive of some excellent results, as in the overthrow of the Tweed ring in New York city. He has always been a Republican, but in 1884 he gave the Democratic candidate his support. Mr. Nast's friends in the U. S. army and navy presented him in 1879 with a testimonial in the shape of a silver cup.