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Thomas Seir Cummings
Portrait, often in miniature
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Bath, England, Thomas Seir Cummings was noted for his miniature portraits, especially of prominent, distinguished persons. He emigrated to New York City from England as a child, and trained for a business career. In his leisure as a young man, he pursued his talent in art and studied with Henry Inman, with whom he became a studio partner from 1824 to 1827. In 1838, he was commissioned a Brigadier General in the New York militia by Governor William H. Seward.
With other artists including Nathaniel Rogers, Asher Durand, Henry Inman and S.F.B. Morse, Cummings founded the National Academy of Design in 1826. From 1850 to 1859, he served as Vice-President of the Academy but stopped exhibiting his own work in 1851. In his New York Times obituary it was written that "the schools of the Academy owed much of their thoroughness to him. He was instructor, Vice President and Treasurer. He accomplished prodigies of artistic labor and financial ingenuity." He stayed with the Academy until 1866 when it seemed obvious the Academy was imperishable. Then he retired to a farm in Connecticut and outlived all of the other original founders of the Academy.
He also was a drawing instructor at New York University, and became one of the city's most sought after miniaturists. He later wrote a history of the Academy, Historic Annals of the National Academy from its Foundation to 1865.
Thomas Cummings had an artist son, Thomas Augustus Cummings, who died in 1859 at age 36. He too was a member of the Academy
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Obituary, The New York Times, September 26, 1894
David Dearinger, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design