The Ohio-born Ward studied at the National Academy of Design in New York from 1865 to 1870 and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1872 to 1878. A consummate academic, he began teaching at the National Academy in 1882 and directed the school from 1889 to 1909. His paintings, which often depict tradesmen and craftsmen, demonstrate his meticulous academic style. "The Coppersmith" reflects late nineteenth-century nostalgia for the past and for beautiful handicrafts in an increasingly industrialized age. Here, Ward ennobles a metalworker by presenting him as a dignified artist in his studio.
Signature: [at lower left]: Edgar M. Ward
Friends of the artist (Hon. Nicholas Muller, Hon. William N. Cohen, Joseph M. Lichteneaur, Samuel P. Avery, anonymous contributor, William T. Evans, George Inness Jr., Hon. Whitelaw Reid, Collin Armstrong), 1900