1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Harrison, Thomas Alexander
HARRISON, THOMAS ALEXANDER (1853– ), American artist, was born in Philadelphia on the 17th of January 1853. He was a pupil of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and of the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, whither he went in 1878, having previously been with a United States government survey expedition on the Pacific coast. Chafing under the restraints of the schools, he went into Brittany, and at Pont Aven and Concarneau turned his attention to marine painting and landscape. In 1882 he sent a figure-piece to the Salon, a fisher boy on the beach, which he called “Châteaux en Espagne.” This attracted attention, and in 1885 he received an honourable mention, the first of many awards conferred upon him, including the Temple gold medal (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1887), first medal, Paris Exhibition (1889), and medals in Munich, Brussels, Ghent, Vienna and elsewhere. He became a member of the Legion of Honour and officier of Public Instruction, Paris; a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris; of the Royal Institute of Painters in Oil Colours, London; of the Secession societies of Munich, Vienna and Berlin; of the National Academy of Design, the Society of American Artists, New York, and other art bodies. In the Salon of 1885 he had a large canvas of several nude women, called “In Arcady,” a remarkable study of flesh tones in light and shade which had a strong influence on the younger men of the day. But his reputation rests rather on his marine pictures, long waves rolling in on the beach, and great stretches of open sea under poetic conditions of light and colour.
His brother, Birge Harrison (1854– ), also a painter, particularly successful in snow scenes, was a pupil of the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, under Cabanel and Carolus Duran; his “November” (honourable mention, 1882) was purchased by the French government. Another brother, Butler Harrison (d. 1886), was a figure painter.