More original artwork & etchings are available from the exhibit titled "Sangster's Niagara", on our exhibition page link.
Note: The green thumbnail arrows at right indicate the beginning of each different section of available Amos W. Sangster artwork and follows successively, to include the sections for; Original Works; Folio Etchings; Vignette Etchings; Other Etchings and a full 10-portfolio 'Limited Remarque Edition' set of Niagara River from Lake to Lake (1886-89).
Amos W. Sangster (Canadian-American, 1833-1904), noted artist, painter, etcher, printmaker, inventor, illustrator and respected art instructor primarily known for his etchings of the Niagara Falls region, and for his landscape and marine paintings in oil and watercolor. In the first half of the 1880's, Sangster began working on a series of original paintings and drawings for use in the later folio collection of etchings entitled Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario (alternately titled Niagara River from Lake to Lake), an important and ambitious project that became his life’s work, for which he is most well known today. His original etchings and artwork of the Niagara region are an important and historic record of the region as it was in the late 1800’s. Most of Sangster's work depicts scenes either along the Niagara River or of Lake Erie close to the mouth of the river.
"A master of sky and water, perhaps something of the gentle, kindly nature of the man revealed itself in his work, which was always characterized by its delicacy, poetry and feeling. Whenever he painted sky, river or lake, he told a story with his brush."
Sangster was a charter member and was elected to be on the first council of the Buffalo Society of Artists and later served as Vice President of the BSA in 1893, and he actively exhibited with the BSA. Aside from private collections, many of Sangster’s original artworks and etchings are secured in public museums, corporations, clubs, libraries, universities and historical collections nationwide including our own Buffalo History Museum, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, as well as in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the Smithsonian Libraries Collection, and various collections in Canada such as Brock University, and the Toronto Public Library to name only a few. Amos maintained a studio at the White Building located at 298 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, with fellow artist Albert N. Samuels (American, c1841-) beginning in 1886 and by 1895, Amos had moved his studio to 19 W. Huron St., and from 1897 on, he maintained his studio out of his home at 448 Seventh Street in the city where he held annual exhibitions of his artwork. There is no other local artist, or any other artist for that matter, who has more thoroughly captured Niagara Falls or the surrounding regions from Lake to Lake in finer excellence and exceptional distinction than Amos Sangster.
“Sangster's ideal of landscape was that of peaceful harmonies combining the elements of beauty with gently asymmetrical, discontinuous, and piquant aspects of the picturesque.”
Amos was born February 5, 1833, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada to Hugh Sangster (b. 1809-d. Dec. 28, 1886) & Mary Ann (née Fisher, b. 1813-d. Nov. 6, 1878) and was the second of twelve children, to include; James, Amos W., Francis, Mary, Christine, Louise, William H., Charles H., Nott "Rena", John Thomas, Frances, and another child who died in infancy (James' Twin), while two others siblings had died fairly young. In 1834, Hugh Sangster moved with his family to Buffalo, NY, to engage in the copper and tin trade and the family resided in the best part of town in a beautiful brick house on a small farm located on the southeast corner of Eagle and Michigan Streets in the city near Buffalo Creek which at that time was farmland and orchards.
The Sangster family later moved to Newark, OH, but returned to Buffalo around 1844, to work in the tin, copper & sheet iron business. Hugh later partnered with Nicholas Britton around 1847 to form Britton & Sangster, a tin & coppersmith business located at 9 Pearl Street in the city. In 1847, Hugh purchased another farm at auction, which included a 1-1/2 story red brick house, two barns, fruit orchards and tree groves, located about four miles from Buffalo. The large farm was located on Mineral Spring Road opposite the South Ogden Street Bridge over Buffalo Creek (once known as the Old Sulphur Springs Road) which became the family’s summer home, and they would later own another summer home in Orchard Park, NY. Hugh and the family made the trek back and forth from Buffalo via the family coach, drawn by their faithful horse 'Black'; so named by his glistening coat of jet black, unmarred by any spot of color. The family farm even had two friendly, but protective dogs; the first being named 'Watch' who was a large newfoundland and had a white star on his throat, and the other was named 'Boston' who was a huge thoroughbred English bulldog.
The partnership with Britton lasted only for about a year or two before Hugh began his own tin, copper & sheet iron, and tinsmithing business around 1849 located on Ohio Street. Circa 1850, Hugh opened the famed family lantern manufacturing business located at 41-43 Seneca Street (near Exchange Street) in the city called Hugh Sangster & Co. (later variations included Hugh Sangster & Sons [for Amos & James], H & J Sangster [for the eldest son James] and Sangster & Sons). The site was later demolished in 1886 to make way for what is now known as Ellicott Street.
As a young man, Amos was educated in the public schools in Buffalo and along with his brother James and younger brothers, they all helped out in their father’s shop manufacturing lanterns and working as tinsmiths. During his free time his talent for art soon found expression in watercolor and oil painting as well as wood engraving. Amos applied those talents working as a printing specialist in wood engraving for the Courier Company in Buffalo, a prominent American lithographic and graphic arts company in the early 1850’s. Amos earned a reasonable income with the Courier Company and the engraving process came naturally to him. Wood engravings were used for newspaper illustrations before the advent of photo-engraving.
While continuing to work in the family lantern business, Amos and James also tinkered with mechanical gadgets and they both invented several products and made improvements on lantern designs throughout the 1850’s. Hugh even built a separate room in the building where Amos and James could develop their ideas and inventions. Their lanterns revolutionized the lighting industry of the day and in their very first year of operation, Hugh had cleared $10,000 (over a quarter million in today’s dollar), and for many years afterward the patent monies kept rolling in. With that affluence, their home soon became a center for cultured Buffalo residents and they even helped build the Swan Street Methodist Episcopal Church (Grace).
Over the years, the family business had manufactured numerous types of high quality patent railroad lamps, patent signal & patent spring lamps, reflectors, patent premium sail, vessel & steamboat signals & lamps, propellors, brass and zinc-tinned wire Britanniaware, copper, tin & sheet ironware, Japanned & planished tinware, as well as general tinware of every description, and they also manufactured tin & copper-plate, sheet-iron & sheet-copper, and they maintained a general assortment of foreign & domestic shelf hardware, nails etc. Some of their lamp designs even won medals. A short poem describing their business in an old 1852 Buffalo Business Directory read;
In the spring of 1853, Amos along with his brother James became Charter Members of the newly formed Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department, Excelsior Hose IV, located in the former quarters of Red Jacket Engine 6, in the alley running from South Division Street to Swan Street in the city. In the fall of that same year, on October 13, Amos married Eliza B. “Lida” Remington (1831-1921), daughter of Edwin and Eliza Remington of Buffalo, NY. Sadly, their only child died in infancy, but the couple did live to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Amos and Eliza later maintained the family summer home out of Orchard Park, NY where he often painted and sketched. After several successful family patents, Amos began to seriously paint by 1858 and was able to devote more time to his art.
"It is a remarkable fact that this accomplished painter and etcher was wholly self-taught. In his whole artistic career he only received one lesson, and was so dissatisfied that he never would consent to take another. A man of independent mind and keen observation, Mr. Sangster went to nature for his instruction. His pictures were simple in conception, profound in sentiment and finished in execution. In oils, water-colors and etchings Mr. Sangster attained equal eminence. In addition to their consummate art, the works of Mr. Sangster have a distinct historic value. To him pre-eminently belongs the title of “Painter of the Niagara Frontier,” whose grand and picturesque scenes he devoted a large share of his life to reproducing. He was a particularly strong painter of marine subjects. He spent many summers with easel and sketch-book at Orchard Park where the family maintained their summer home, and he loved to sketch along the shores of the Niagara River and Lake Erie. There is scarcely a home in Buffalo having pretensions to art culture which does not have on its walls a picture or etching bearing his familiar signature. For many years Mr. Sangster conducted a studio with the late A.N. Samuels [Albert N.]. There are few Buffalo artists who have not at one time or another studied with Mr. Sangster. He was a successful instructor."
Amos even opened his own short-lived sewing machine manufacturing business at 202 Main Street, which he maintained for a few years in the late 1850’s with help from brother James. Additionally, Amos and James were issued several new patents for Improvements in Sewing Machines during that same time period which they later sold to the Singer Company. With everything on his plate, Amos actively tried to further establish himself as an artist and he also managed to continue helping out within the family lantern business.
In 1862, with the nation firmly in the grips of the Civil War, Amos and his brother Charles registered for the Civil War Draft. Charles enlisted February 27, 1862 at Buffalo to serve three years as a private in Company G of the Seventy-Eighth Infantry but he was discharged a few months later on April 26 at New York City for reasons unknown (cause not stated). Amos never served and no further records have been found as to how he may have possibly gotten out of serving in the war. By 1863, the family lamp business was declining and productivity was down as a result of the war taking its toll with disruptions in the manufacturing and distribution programs, and it appears that Amos and his brother James took over the operations under the business name J. & A.W. Sangster, kerosene oil burner manufacturers, over 192 Washington Street in Buffalo, but it is unclear if it may have been a separate business entirely. Either way, the family lantern business seems to have all but dissolved by the mid-late 1860’s, as Hugh Sangster was listed in the Buffalo City Directory working as a patent agent for son James’ patent soliciting business by 1866.
Amos became a member and started to exhibit with the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy in 1865. His first watercolor painting submitted that same year was titled “Beaver Creek and Its Surroundings, as seen from the head of Grand Island, looking toward Buffalo”. Around that same time period, Amos was the only Buffalo artist who began to explore the medium of etching and circa the early 1870’s, he co-founded the first etching club in Buffalo. He operated the club out of his home studio which only had about five members at the beginning, to include the well known artists Hamilton Hamilton, and Burr H. Nicholls. Amos’ first known etching was a small landscape with a group of trees along an embankment near the water’s edge. A humorous story was later recalled by Sangster in an article from the Buffalo Express in 1894, from the very first meeting of the club some twenty-five odd years after its initial formation—One of the members was a great talker and he did a beautiful rendering on his plate of a dead duck. Amos cautioned the young man to watch the plate well as it was submerged into the acid bath. Well needless to say, the young man got to talking and even though the other members frequently reminded him to keep an eye on his plate, he continued to talk. When he did finally look at his plate, it was all eaten up by the acid and Sangster laughingly quipped, “Yes, it was a dead duck sure enough!”
Amos continued to design, manufacture and improve lamps throughout the 1870’s, as well as design and co-design various other patented mechanical gadgets & hardware, such as; New and Useful Improvements in Alphabet-Cases (which served as an arithmetic learning game for children), Improvements in Lamp Burners, Improvements in Ozone Generators and even a Brace Hinge for Trunks. In February of 1883, Amos co-founded the Buffalo Art Club and was elected its first president. The Club met at 6 Austin Building (also known as the Ticor Building, First Unitarian Church or Title Guarantee Building) located at 110 Franklin Street at Eagle in the city and enrollment was open to resident and non-resident artists alike. The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy was also located there from 1881-1886. The Club met on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday evenings for practice, twice a month for essays, lectures, criticism, etc., and once a month for business, and their annual meetings were held on the first Thursday in April. Their mission statement simply proclaimed the “…cultivation and advancement of art in all its branches, and the promotion of social intercourse among its members and all interested in art.”
Beginning in early 1886, Amos maintained his studio at the White Building and earlier that same year he had created the largest etching ever produced in the United States at that time, titled “A Surf-tormented Shore” (alternately titled “The Surf”, 24” x 36” *see image for sale at right)—The illustration is a scene of the Canadian shore on Lake Erie just west of Point Abino, Ontario, Canada that depicts a very windy day on the lake with rolling waves crashing against a few lone boulders on the shoreline, and a distant sailboat trying to keep straight against the driving wind under a sky of billowing clouds. But what Amos did between the years 1886-89 was to become his crowing achievement—he published his famed folio of etchings titled Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. This limited edition signed and numbered ‘Remarque Folio Edition’ was one of the greatest publishing feats ever undertaken in the United States at that time, and its theme has been unequalled in size and scope by any other artist since its debut in 1886. It was an ambitious project that documented the full length of the Niagara River region along its entire thirty-six mile stretch, and has also served as an important historic record of the region as it was in the late 1800’s. The enormous task was a decade in the making, and the completed copper etchings alone took him about three years to produce.
Sangster originally conceived the idea for the folio series of etchings himself, and it had been, “…his cherished dream and hope for many years.” The images in the folio depicted picturesque scenery in a realist style devoid of pretense, and he knew the region quite thoroughly and with a profound intimacy from both the American and Canadian sides. He spent many years beforehand traipsing and camping along its banks, scenic vistas, pathways, hidden coves, and quiet corners sketching and painting as he went along. Many of his scenes captured pristine areas in some of the relatively undisturbed primeval environs of the Niagara Region just before the inevitable encroachment of further industrialization, the use of hydro-electric power, booming cities and a burgeoning tourist industry had permanently taken their foothold in and around the landscape.
“He was adept at nudging the great river into all sorts of picturesque poses, and he spent a good number of years trooping along its banks and climbing through its gorges to uncover a wealth of charming and unusual views from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.”
Sangster’s images in the folio included many illustrations of the great cataracts of the Falls, the “Queen of the Niagara” herself in a vast array of moody panoramas of the thunderous beauty. Other illustrations in the folio included fantastic views of the raging Rapids, serene scenes along the Niagara River banks, old battlegrounds and ruins of the great forts, city views of Buffalo harbors and grain mills, the shores of Lake Erie close to the mouth of the river, Grand Island and many charming views of the surrounding smaller islands.
By the 1870’s, industrialization and commercial damage to the Niagara Region was evident and scenic decay ensued. Preservationists and nature lovers like Sangster recognized it and had taken notice—something had to be done. For reasons aforementioned, preservation efforts began with a conservation movement known as “Free Niagara”, to protect the integrity and beauty of Niagara Falls and its surrounding areas. The movement was spearheaded and supported by such notable figures as, Hudson River school artist Frederic Edwin Church, Buffalo landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, architect Henry Hobson Richardson and Lord Dufferin, then Governor General of Canada. The movement worked closely with the governments of New York State and Canada with the proposal of establishing an international public park system to restore, protect and preserve the Niagara cataract and its surrounding areas. Though Sangster was not known to be an active part of the movement, he certainly knew of their efforts and one can safely assume, that he agreed fully with the sentiments of their proposed plan. After all, he probably knew the Niagara Region better than most and realized the importance of preserving it. Sangster loved and enjoyed the beauty of the region immensely and the movement no doubt only fueled his desire to fulfill his dream of documenting the Niagara River in etchings.
In 1879, Buffalo landscape & park designer Frederick Law Olmsted along with James T. Gardner were commissioned by the State of New York legislature to survey the Falls and they created the single-most important document in the whole Niagara preservation movement, and a quote taken from the ‘Special Report’ stated, “From the head of the Rapids to the Falls, the shore is already defaced by walls, platforms, and buildings. Not a foot of it retains a natural character.” Four years later, after continued lobbying efforts and the appropriation of necessary funds, then Governor Grover Cleveland drafted legislation and signed a bill that authorized the selection, location and acquisition of lands for a state reservation at Niagara. Though the idea for an international park system never came to fruition, as both countries wanted to more easily control their respective governmental entities, eventually two parks were established within months of each other on both sides of the falls. On April 30, 1885, conservationist efforts were finally rewarded and the New York legislation created the Niagara Reservation, the nation’s first ‘official’ public state park, followed by the Niagara Falls Queen Victoria Park in Canada. In more recent times, Niagara Falls State Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963, and is now an important contributing factor to the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area which includes the communities of Niagara Falls, Youngstown and Lewiston.
By the fall of 1886, Sangster had been working diligently out of his studio at the White Building and Grover Cleveland was already well into his second year as the 22nd President of the United States. Sangster had known Cleveland well before he had taken office, and they were close friends. Sangster had appreciated President Cleveland’s conservation efforts so much that he dedicated the entire folio to him, with text that appears printed before the title page in Portfolio 1 as, "Dedicated by Permission and With Great Respect to the Hon. Grover Cleveland, President of the United States by His Friend – The Artist”. President Cleveland was also a major collector of Sangster's artwork.
The timed release of Sangster’s folio from 1886-1889, shortly after the formation of the Reservation had garnered a lot of attention and interest from serious collectors. Many copies were quickly ordered ahead of publication, with a large portion of the sets already being assigned to Buffalo collectors, merchants and wealthy patrons. After a short delay in issuing which should have been in early September, Sangster’s first section of the folio set of etchings was ready for its fulfillment of pre-sale orders and general sale to the public by October 22nd of that year. C.H. Frank was the exclusive agent for Western New York and was responsible for the sales and distribution of the folio. Frank initially operated out of the White Building as well, and thereafter out of his office located at 194 Pearl Street. Some notable collectors of the folio included Elbert Hubbard of the Roycroft Arts & Crafts fame, Joseph A. Dingens, a wine & liquor importer and wholesale dealer along with his brother John C. Dingens and Eugene Bertrand, Jr. in Buffalo under the business name of Dingens Brothers (and whom Dingens Street is named after) as well as the Bethlehem Steel Corporation of Lackawanna to name a few.
Sangster etched with uncommon skill, and the level of detail in his etchings is incredible. He was able to invoke the subtleties of nature with a finely etched line as his graphic medium of choice for the series. The abstract atmosphere of translucent mist or the dark tonal forest shadows of trees & leaves, highlighted limbs & twisted root systems or the contour of craggy rocks and shoreline sand & bramble, or the sparkling of sunlight reflecting off of still waters or the tops of racing rapids that explode off of unyielding rocks, and the billowing of thick smoke from tugboats or harbor smokestacks, and even capturing sublime scenes of the broken ruins of the old forts which gives the viewer pause to reflect and remember all who fought in the bloody wars of the Niagara Region that helped shape our continent's destiny—Sangster was able to portray with equal ease and a confident hand, in all of his diverse compositions. He preserved the aesthetic of the Niagara Region in a picturesque and idyllic quality not easily captured or seen in other graphic mediums while also preserving elements of its natural history from carefully chosen and unique vantage-points.
The myriad of scenes he captured helped people and eager tourists to view The Niagara from more of a comprehensive standpoint, than by just visiting the great cataracts of the Falls as their sole destination. Most tourists viewed the Falls from various scenic vistas above or from below on the Maid of the Mist boat, and even from the old Ice Bridge at the base of the Falls which was one of the Park’s winter wonders, but later became illegal to do in 1912 after three people had died. Sangster’s folio showed the Niagara River in an all-inclusive way through all of the four seasons, and he wanted to entice travelers, tourists and local citizens to venture out and explore all that the Niagara Region had to offer. Traditional romantic and sentimental imagery even made their way into Sangster’s folio in some of the more well known locales that tourists were already familiar with, by adding figures into a select few of his compositions, as one example depicts in the etching titled “The Lover’s Walk, Goat Island” (Plate XXII)–The amorous scene depicts a loving couple shadowed in silhouette, walking arm-in-arm down a dimly lit pathway in a glade of trees with sunlight piercing through only a few small spots in the forest canopy to light their way.
"He really made the lakeshore his own and everything he touched was illuminated by the beauty of the artist's mind, by the gentleness and delicacy of his essentially spiritual nature."
Amos was a highly respected member in the art community and amongst his business associates, friends, pupils and those who knew him best. He was widely known not only for his artistic merits, but for his honesty and benevolent nature. "Ever unselfish, honesty was also one of his strongest traits, honesty to himself, to his art and to his friends. Kindly, courteous, gentle, he was loved by both artist and layman....” and his contemporary, artist George Inness (American, 1825-1894), once referred to him as “the American Turner.” Some notable patrons of his work include; the Honorable A. Rogers, who aided the placement of Sangster’s watercolor study of “Beaver Island” in the National Academy, the Honorable William L. Scott of Erie, PA, Edward Olcott of Denver, CO, George Van Vleck of Buffalo and William C. Cornwell. When he wasn’t diligently working on a given project, he taught art out of the various studios he had maintained over the course of his long career.
Sangster’s folio became a history lesson in and of itself, not only through his etchings but by the 36,000 word historical commentary written by colleague James Warner Ward, then librarian of the Grosvenor Public Library in Buffalo who was another of Sangster’s close friends. Ward’s eloquent and highly descriptive narrative accompanied the vignette etchings throughout the 10 portfolio set and each portfolio centered on different themes, moods and specific points of local interest and history. Themes ranged from the beauty and charm of Lake Erie to the history of Buffalo Creek, Buffalo’s place as a center of commerce, the great Ice Age, the old forts and wars, the Niagara River & railroading industry, history of Grand Island and the surrounding islands, the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle (for the La Salle area of the city of Niagara Falls named in his honor), The Rapids & Falls with historical data, as well as theories as to ‘Why the River bears its name Niagara?’
The folio has also served as an important record of the area in terms of historical geology in relation to the subsequent impact modern civilization has had on the Niagara Region’s ecosystem since the close of the 19th century. One need simply reference any of Sangster’s etchings to see an age frozen in time as he perceived it, before the modern epoch made its ‘more-civilized’ forward-advancement and permanent changes to the Niagara Region—that in some instances have been considered ‘un-natural’. Some case-in-points are; climate change (global warming) and its impact on the future of the Great Lakes basin potentially drying up, the freshwater pollution of the River itself from industrial toxic chemical & hazardous waste dumping over the last century to the “Love Canal” disaster in Niagara Falls during the 1970’s, to the current ongoing sewage runoff as well as the hazardous medical waste dumping that has graced the shorelines in recent years. Currently, EPA authorities have estimated that the combined sewer systems of Buffalo dumps almost four billion gallons of collective sewage overflow into the Niagara River and its tributaries each year from discharged storm and wastewater excess that contain untreated human and industrial waste, toxic materials and mixed debris. Some of the serious results of that are; public health concerns, degraded water quality, inedible fish, sewage odors, limited recreational activities, declining tourism et cetera… An inevitable ‘natural’ change includes the constant environmental erosion and its correlation with the continuous recession of the Falls. Scientists speculate that in 2,000 years the American Falls could potentially dry up, and in 50,000 years at the current rate of erosion, there will be no more Falls…just the river itself–harsh and relative facts that would deeply sadden and disturb Sangster if he were alive to witness their devastating effects in the land he had loved so much… Furthermore, many of Sangster’s views captured in his folio have changed significantly since that time or simply do not exist any more and are unfortunately gone forever.
On October 13, 1903, Amos and Eliza celebrated their golden 50th wedding anniversary and he had prepared what was to unfortunately become his last etching titled “The Golden Sunset”. Amos gave the etching to his wife, and also as a souvenir of the occasion to all family members and honored guests. His sister Urania even provided a long poem for the happy couple, with the first stanza that read;
That following December, Amos had his last exhibition of oils, watercolors, etchings and monoprints from his home studio and on New Years Eve he became stricken with complications due to grippe (a former name for influenza) and nervous prostration (another name for a nervous breakdown). The sickness had left him basically bedridden and led to his steady decline resulting in his death at 4:10am on April 23, 1904 at the age of 71. Several local newspapers published extended obituaries on Sangster and his career as a prominent Buffalo artist whose fame reached far beyond the Niagara Region. The month following his death, his wife Eliza had a special exhibition of his work that was on display for a month, and she continued to have retrospective shows and sell his artwork from their home until about 1910. She passed away on February 12, 1921, and they are both buried in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90) located in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY, and evidently there is sadly no monument or marker for Amos.
Prints from the Remarque Folio Edition collection of Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, consisted of one hundred and fifty-three original copper plate etchings from Sangster’s own drawings. He documented Niagara Falls and the Niagara River with an accurate and original style from a multitude of different vistas and perspectives along its thirty-six mile stretch. It was a monumental artistic endeavor and took three years for Sangster to produce the completed copper etchings. The set was published from 1886 through 1889 with a 36,000 word historical commentary by Sangster’s friend-writer, scholar, scientist and Buffalo librarian James Warner Ward (American, 1816-1897) that he wrote & dated on Sept. 1, 1886. Ward was the librarian of the Grosvenor Public Library in Buffalo, NY from 1874 until his death in 1897. The entire set was published by Thomas T. Fryer in two volumes (Vol. 1 consisted of the first 5 portfolio sections and Vol. 2 consisted of the last 5 sections) and each of the ten separate portfolios were individually numbered. The plates were printed by the famous J.H. Daniels of Boston, MA, in shades of black, sepia, red, blue and green inks, with the edition limited to 1,000 copies and the letter-press works were printed by the well known art-printing house of Matthews, Northrup & Co., Buffalo, NY, from the office of the Buffalo Morning Express newspaper (The People's Press). The etching set included 50 full-page folio plates and 103 vignettes. They were printed on fine India paper and mounted (Chine-collé) on fine 19th Century hand-made Dutch Van Gelder Zonen watermarked laid paper with laid tissue cover sheets. Each of the full page etchings in the different numbered sections were hand signed by the artist and also featured a smaller remarque etching (*See definition below), and each section of the 10 portfolio set was housed in brown covers. The entire set was dedicated "By Permission and With Great Respect" to Sangster's close friend The Honorable Grover Cleveland, then President of the United States, who was a major collector of his artwork.
*Remarque: A smaller etching image or scene, similar in subject matter to the larger etching, that an artist adds, often to show the various stages a print has gone through before being finalized. Typically, the remarque is burnished off before a regular-edition run, so its presence often increases the value of a print. Sangster, however, chose to keep the remarques intact on his full-page etchings for this limited-edition folio set of etchings.
The entire ‘Folio Remarque Edition’ was subscription based and originally sold for $100.00 back in 1886, which equals about $2,500.00 in today's dollar, and is quite a hefty price to pay even by today’s standards for a collection of artwork, let alone affordable back in those days. After a short delay in issuing which should have been in early September of 1886, Sangster’s first section of the folio set of etchings was ready for sale to the general public on October 22 of that year. The timed release of his folio from 1886-1889 shortly after the formation of the Niagara Reservation in 1885 garnered a lot of attention and interest from collectors, and many copies were quickly ordered ahead of the publication, with a large portion of the sets already being assigned to Buffalo collectors, merchants and wealthy patrons. The Western New York agent responsible for the orders and distribution of the folio was C.H. Frank who also initially operated out of the 'White Building' in the city and later from his office at 194 Pearl Street. The limited remarque folio edition included a contract for each subscriber which featured a small sample etching and descriptive text regarding the set and the 'Conditions of Publication' by Thomas T. Fryer, as well as including the calling card of agent C.H. Frank. By 1889 it seems the price and demand for his folio was going up and the set was then selling for around $115.00 through certain distributors. From a bookseller’s advertisement of the Sangster folio in 1889, one dealer in New York City had already begun to run out of copies and stated in the ad that he only had a few sets left. Collectors who subscribed to the complete folio set had their names written into the inside of each section of the ten portfolios in the set, as well as the edition number written accordingly, and the prints were loose for ease of framing. The folio sold well, but some current skeptics have speculated that the full limited edition of 1,000 copies never completely sold out. To find an original complete set of the ‘Remarque Folio Edition’ today is nearly impossible and as most were broken up and individual etchings were framed.
In 1986, Sangster’s etchings from the 1886 collection were exhibited in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the publication of the folio, along with photographs by John Pfahl which were executed especially for the occasion. “With a grant from the Visual Artists Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, the Castellani Art Museum commissioned Pfahl to photograph the river over a period of nine months during 1985-86. Pfahl attempted to use the working methods of Amos Sangster as closely as possible, spending many days hiking along the Niagara River, finding his vantage points, and, most important, approaching his subject with the same reverent appreciation of the Niagara scene and painterly aesthetic evinced by Sangster. The photographs that result are serenely picturesque vistas, incorporating a sense of the awesome and sublime that belongs to Pfahl's own, uniquely spiritual attitude toward nature. Fifty-two horizontal Kodak Ektacolor color-coupler prints were produced.” The show was proposed by the Amos W. Sangster Niagara River Centennial Committee in conjunction with the Buscaglia-Castellani Art Gallery (now called the Castellani Art Museum), at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY, and was to include four concurrent events. The show was later incorporated into a traveling exhibition which was distributed by the Visual Studies Workshop exhibition program from Rochester, NY. Pfahl’s images along with a few select Sangster etchings, were then published in a book titled Arcadia Revisited: Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, published by the University of New Mexico Press (1988), with essays by Estelle Jussim, Anthony Bannon and John Pfahl.
The Sangster family had more than a few notable people in their family tree besides Amos. His uncle, Charles Sangster (Hugh Sangster’s younger brother) was a well known Canadian poet who contributed a revised edition of his famous poem "The St. Lawrence and the Saguenay” to be illustrated and published in the famed Amos Sangster folio as a 45-line stanza titled “To Niagara”, as an introduction to Portfolio 10 and appears alongside Vignette No. 94 “Under the Cliff” (Plate XCIV)–The illustration features a view high above the Niagara gorge with a group of people looking down from a ledge onto the railroad line below and is complemented by a smoking train chugging down the tracks along the cliff wall. Charles was considered to be the most important Canadian poet in the last half of the 19th Century and was called the “Father of Canadian Poetry”. Between November, 1888 and July of 1891, Amos and Charles made repeated attempts and cancellations to undertake a sketching trip together down the St. Lawrence River, on the route mentioned in Charles’ poem. Amos wanted to make that the source of his next artistic venture with etchings, but their plan never materialized as Charles had been in ill health on and off for several years before his death on April 6, 1893. Charles died at the home of his nephew William (Amos’ brother), Kingston, Ontario, Canada and was buried in Cataraqui Cemetery with a grave stone marked simply as, “Charles Sangster, Poet.” Before his death, Charles had sent the revised poem to Amos to keep locked in his safe for security and after Charles died in 1893, all trace of the poem had vanished and was never recovered.
In addition to being an inventor, elder brother James was an accomplished artist, sculptor, painter & poet. He studied sculpture under Henry Selkirk Brown in New York City. James’ famous pen & ink portrait painting of Abraham Lincoln (painted May 6, 1865) garnered him wide recognition and praise amongst his contemporaries and he gave the painting to his sister Urania on December 25, 1888, which she in-turn gave to the Buffalo Historical Society. In an account by James, the painting 'from life' originally began in February of 1861, and was later completed after Lincoln's assassination. Evidently the portrait was later purchased by the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, at the Parke-Bernet sale #566 on May 9, 1944. The image of the painting and Rena's letter are below;
Cont...James was also a mechanical engineer who eventually made a successful career as a reputable American and foreign patent solicitor and was an expert attorney in patent cases. James died September 14, 1898 and is also buried in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90) at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY. Amos’ sister Urania “Rena” Nott Sangster was an author, poet, occasional artist and song-writer who went on to write the book The Power of Gold: A Romance of London, England in Seven Chapters (1909) and she dedicated the book to her late brother Amos W. Sangster. Brother William, as did some of the other siblings, had left Buffalo and returned to their father’s old residence in Kingston, Ontario, Canada which had been kept in the family by Hugh’s brother Charles.
1833- Born, February 5th, to Hugh Sangster (b. 1809-d. Dec. 28, 1886) & Mary Ann (née Fisher, b. 1813-d. Nov. 6, 1878), the second of twelve children, to include; James, Amos W., Francis, Mary, Christine, Louise, William H., Charles H., Urania Nott "Rena", John Thomas, Frances, and another child who died in infancy (James' Twin), and while two other siblings had died fairly young, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
1834- The family moved to Buffalo, NY, and Hugh Sangster engaged in the copper and tin trade, Buffalo, NY, and Amos attended Buffalo public schools.
Circa mid-late 1830’s- The family later moved to Newark, OH, returning to Buffalo circa 1844.
Circa 1844- Hugh Sangster and the family returned to Buffalo to work in the tin, copper & sheet iron business.
1847- Hugh purchased another farm at auction, which included a 1-1/2 story red brick house, two barns, fruit orchards and tree groves, located about four miles from Buffalo. The large farm was located on Mineral Spring Road opposite the South Ogden Street Bridge over Buffalo Creek (once known as the Old Sulphur Springs Road) which became the family’s summer home, and they would later own another summer home in Orchard Park, NY.
Circa 1847-48- Hugh partnered with Nicholas Britton around 1847 to form Britton & Sangster, a tin & coppersmith business located at 9 Pearl Street in the city.
Circa 1849- The partnership Hugh had with Britton dissolved and Hugh began his own tin, copper & sheet iron, and tinsmithing business located on Ohio Street, Buffalo, NY.
Circa 1850- Hugh opened the famed family lantern manufacturing business located at located at 41-43 Seneca Street in the city called Hugh Sangster & Co., (later variations included Hugh Sangster & Sons [Amos & James], H & J Sangster [for the eldest son James] and Sangster & Sons), Buffalo, NY. Amos again attended local Buffalo public schools.
Circa the early 1850's- Amos worked for the Courier Company, a major American lithographic and graphic arts company, as a printing specialist in wood engraving.
1853- April 5, Amos along with his brother James became Charter Members of the newly formed Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department, Excelsior Hose IV, located in the former quarters of Red Jacket Engine 6, in the alley running from South Division Street to Swan Street, Buffalo, NY. October 13th, Amos married Miss Eliza "Lida" B. Remington (1831-1921), daughter of Edwin and Eliza (née Kilburn) Remington of Buffalo, NY. Their only child died in infancy.
By 1855- Amos & Eliza were residing at 202 E. Swan Street, Buffalo, NY.
1858- Amos began seriously painting, and with help from the monies from the several family patents of successful inventions in their lantern business (beginning in 1849 & through the early-mid 1850’s), it enabled him to devote more time to his art, Buffalo, NY. Amos & Eliza were residing at 239 E. Swan Street and Amos also worked by manufacturing sewing machines, Buffalo, NY. Through that year, Amos and brother James were issued several new patents for Improvements in Sewing Machines, Buffalo, NY.
By 1959- Amos opened his own short-lived sewing machine manufacturing business at 202 Main Street, which he maintained for a few years with help from brother James. Additionally, Amos and James were issued several other new patents for Improvements in Sewing Machines during that same time period which they later sold to the Singer Company. Amos and Eliza were still living at 239 Swan St.
1860-61- Amos was still helping out the family lantern business, Buffalo, NY.
1862- Amos and his brother Charles registered for the Civil War Draft which took place between 1863-1865, and their names appeared on the Civil War Draft Registration Records (May-June, 1863), and Charles enlisted February 27, 1862 at Buffalo to serve three years as a private in Company G of the Seventy-Eighth Infantry but he was discharged a few months later on April 26 at New York City for reasons unknown (cause not stated), and no further records have been found as to Amos serving and is unknown how he may have possibly gotten out of serving in the war. As a matter of speculation, he may have possibly been deferred or maybe purchased his way out or had a special qualification that exempted him, as both he and Charles were still listed as tinsmiths at that time and Amos may have been better qualified possibly to run the family business, Buffalo, NY. At the same time Amos was also manufacturing coal oil burners under the business name of Sangster, Irwin & Co., copper & tin smiths, but the venture didn't seem to last but a year or so. Amos and his wife now resided at 247 Swan Street, Buffalo, NY.
By 1863- The family lamp business was declining and productivity was down, as a result of the Civil War taking its toll on the nation with disruptions in the manufacturing and distribution programs, and it appears that Amos and his brother James took over the operations under the business name J. & A.W. Sangster, kerosene oil burner manufacturers, over 192 Washington Street, Buffalo, NY, but it is unclear if it may have been a separate business entirely.
1865-66- Amos exhibited, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, with painting “Beaver Creek and Its Surroundings, as seen from the head of Grand Island, looking toward Buffalo” (watercolor exhibited both years), and also two untitled landscape paintings (1966), Young Men’s Association Building, Buffalo, NY.
By 1866- Though Amos was still listed as a lamp maker in the Buffalo City Directory, it seems the family lamp business had all but dissolved, as Hugh Sangster was now listed as a patent agent for son James' patent soliciting business, Buffalo, NY.
By 1868- Amos was now listed in the Buffalo City Directory as a 'Designer' and he & Eliza were now residing at 341 Swan Street, Buffalo, NY.
By 1871- Amos was now listed in the Buffalo City Directory as a full-fledged 'Artist' and had his studio over 31 Seneca Street in the city, and he & Eliza were now residing in Cheektowaga, NY and Hugh Sangster was listed as working at Buffalo Union Lantern Works as a tinsmith, 82 Main Street, Buffalo, NY.
1872- Amos had his studio at 7 Bapst Block (Bapst's Building, Main Street area near S.E. corner of Seneca & Washington Streets), Buffalo, NY.
Circa early 1870’s- Amos co-founded an etching club with fellow artists Hamilton Hamilton (English-American, 1847-1928) and Burr H. Nicholls (American, 1848-1915) out of his studio, which only had about five members at the beginning and Amos's first etching was a small landscape with trees along an embankment near the shore (lunette-style at top of etching), Buffalo, NY.
1874- Issued November 24th, Amos along with William F. Baade and brother James invented and patented new and useful improvements in Alphabet-Cases, which served as an arithmetic learning game for children. The patent related to an improved means for operating or moving the alphabet-belts and picture-surfaces, Buffalo, NY. Amos & Eliza resided at 456 Swan Street, Buffalo, NY, and Hugh Sangster was listed in the Buffalo City Directory as a copper-spinner.
1875- Exhibited, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, with paintings “Trout Brook”, “Indian Hunter” (watercolor), and “Cayuga Creek” (watercolor), Young Men’s Association Building, Buffalo, NY.
1877- Amos maintained a studio at 35 W. Eagle Street, Buffalo, and he & Eliza now resided at 263 S. Division Street in the city. Though the family lamp business was defunct, Amos still managed to design & patent specific related items and on July 17, 1877 he patented Improvements in Lamp Burners, Buffalo, NY.
1878- Amos & Eliza now resided at 363 S. Division Street in the city, and his father Hugh was still listed in the Buffalo City Directory as a tinsmith so he was still actively working in Buffalo. November 6, Amos's mother Mary Ann Sangster died, and is buried in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90) at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
From 1878-1885- Amos continued to design & co-design other patented mechanical gadgets & hardware, such as; Improvements in Ozone Generators & a Brace Hinge for Trunks.
Circa 1879-mid 1880’s- Amos began preliminary painting & drawings studies for the monumental and historical etching series Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario (Published 1886-89), Buffalo, NY.
1879- Amos now maintained a studio at 15 German Insurance Building located at 10 Lafayette Square (Roos Block), Buffalo, NY. December 9, an auction of 62 Sangster watercolor paintings was held for sale to the public, Buffalo, NY.
1880- Amos's studio & home was located at 363 S. Division Street, Buffalo, NY.
1881- Amos's father Hugh was still actively working and was listed in the Buffalo City Directory as a coppersmith, Buffalo, NY.
1883- February, Amos co-founded the Buffalo Art Club and was elected its first president, Buffalo, NY.
1884- Amos now maintained a studio at 6 Austin Building located at 110 Franklin Street in the city, and he & Eliza were still residing at 363 S. Division Street, Buffalo, NY.
1886- Moved into his new studio in the White Building in downtown Buffalo which he shared with fellow artist Albert N. Samuels (American, c1841-), located at 298 Main Street, Buffalo, NY. Amos creates the largest etching ever produced in the United States at that time entitled "A Surf-tormented Shore" (alternately titled "The Surf", scene of the Canadian shore on Lake Erie just west of Point Abino, with remarque of Lake Erie & Lighthouse), printed by J.H. Daniels of Boston, MA, image size 23.25" x 36". December 28, Amos's father Hugh Sangster died, Buffalo, NY, and is buried in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90) at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
Between 1886-89- Beginning on October 22, 1886 after a short delaying in the issuing which should have taken place in early September, Sangster's first section of the signed & numbered limited edition folio set of etchings Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario was published and sold to the general public and followed by the other nine separate numbered sections (one every 2 months or as fast as Amos could issue them), with a 36,000 word historical commentary by Sangster’s friend James Warner Ward (American, 1816-1897), librarian of the Grosvenor Public Library, Buffalo, NY.
1889- May 1-5 only, Amos exhibited his original drawing & painting studies for his recently published folio of etchings from Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Buffalo, NY. And during the same week, May 1-5, Amos exhibited, group show, "Black and White", 38 Sangster etchings & monotypes were shown, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
1890- Exhibited, group show, The American Watercolor Society, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy Galleries, Western Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
1891- Sangster was a charter member and was elected to be on the first council of the Buffalo Society of Artists, and later served as Vice President of the BSA in 1893.
1892- January 25, Amos attempted to publish another 'less expensive' and unique folio titled "Niagara from Lake to Lake", by Peter, Paul & Brother Publishers, Buffalo, NY, but the set was never-completed. The series showcased reproductions of the original drawings (not the etchings) he used for his famous folio Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario (1886-89), as well as other drawings and the text from the former famed edition was to be much-condensed to appropriately work with the new images. The folio set was to be published in ten sections with each section containing 5 full-page pictures (2 etchings & 3 typogravures [a halftone photo-engraving process]), with 15 typogravures in the text, with the etchings printed by J.H. Daniels, Boston, MA (direct from the copper plates), and the typogravures printed in different color tints by the well known printing house of Wilhelm, Haas & Kochler, Buffalo and the Lyon Book Company, Rochester, NY, as General Agents, but the set was never completed as Section 1 was the only one ever shown to have been published in late January 1892 with no record of the other nine sections, and later on Peter, Paul & Brother Publishers attempted to sell off what stock they had of Section 1 at dramatic discounts, just after Amos had died in the spring of 1904. Amos incorporated special ornamental designs of hand drawn & stylized type-case of 'dropped capital' letters from his original drawings (set amidst a landscape) which were used at the beginning of paragraphs. The two included 'new' etchings in each proposed section were full-size signed etchings and were to be adhered into the spine at the back of the folio, and each section was sold for $3.50 ($88- in today's dollar, $35- for the complete set), with payment only on delivery and issued one section every two months (or as fast as they could issue them) until completed and no order was accepted for less than the complete work and orders could not be canceled (except by consent of the publishers), and as stated from the folio itself the value of the two included etchings were worth more than the asking price of each section, and they also printed a smaller 'Prospectus' catalog to give out as advertisement for the set (which can be viewed below in PDF format), size 11-3/4" x 9", string-bound on glossy paper, with 8 pages including covers to also include; 10 illustrations including 1 full page, conditions of publication, testimonials, and advertising, Buffalo, NY.
1893- April 6, elected Vice President of the Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY. May 19, Eliza's mother, Mrs. Eliza Remington, died, Buffalo, NY. December 9, his uncle Charles Sangster died at the home of his nephew William (Amos' brother), Kingston, Ontario, Canada and was buried in Cataraqui Cemetery with a grave stone marked simply, "Charles Sangster, Poet"
1894- Exhibited, April 2-21, several local landscape and marine watercolor paintings, Third Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists, with fronticepiece to their catalog by Amos Sangster of an etching entitled "Drifting" (Marine scene with sailboats), Buffalo, NY. Amos was still listed as Vice President of the BSA, and was also a member of the Selection Committee and Catalogue Committee.
1894-c1895- Amos proposed and began work on a new 2nd edition of his famed folio, but this 2nd signed remarque edition was limited to 375, and there was a new arrangement of the letter-press, new etchings to be included, and a different system was incorporated for putting in the etchings—instead of being printed on India paper, fastened via Chine-collé to the heavy hand-made Holland paper as in the former first edition, they would be printed on fine Japan paper and tipped in at the top corner only adding to the artistic effect. As an example, two new scenes that were to be included in this new edition were etchings of ‘Navy Island’ and the ‘Canadian Shore Below Frenchman's Creek’. The 2nd edition set had green board covers and the text of the front read the same as the previous set, and again they were printed by the famous firm of J.H. Daniels, Boston, MA and it is assumed that it was again published by Thomas T. Fryer, Buffalo, NY.
By 1895-97- Amos maintained a studio at 19 W. Huron Street, Buffalo, NY.
1895- Amos spent the summer in Point Abino sketching and painting, Ontario, Canada. Exhibited, two day show out of his studio on W. Huron Street, exhibiting many of the pictures he had recently done that past summer while in Point Abino, Buffalo, NY.
1896- Exhibited, group show, Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY.
Circa 1897-1904- Amos maintained his studio out of his home residence at 448 Seventh Street, Buffalo, NY.
1898 Exhibited, solo, original watercolors, (unknown art gallery), Buffalo, NY. September 14, Brother James died, and is buried in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90), in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
1900- Exhibited, group show, of his watercolors, Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, annual show out of his home studio at 448 Seventh Street, Buffalo, NY.
1901- December, exhibited, annual show out of his home studio, watercolors, oil paintings, etchings and monotypes, 448 Seventh Street, Buffalo, NY.
1902- December 12-14, exhibited, three day show out of his home studio, watercolors & etchings, 448 Seventh Street, Buffalo, NY.
1903- Exhibited, group show, Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY. Circa September, Amos completed his final etching titled "The Golden Sunset" and on October 13, Amos and his wife Eliza celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, giving out the etching of "Golden Sunset" as a souvenir of the occasion, and sister Urania "Rena" providing a long poem for Amos & Eliza with the first stanza that read;
1903 con't....December 3, exhibited, annual show out of his home studio at 448 Seventh Street, over 100 watercolors, hundreds of etchings as well as monotypes and oils were shown and available for purchase, Buffalo, NY. Later that same month, Amos was stricken with grippe (a former name for influenza) followed by nervous prostration (nervous breakdown) which led to his subsequent decline and death that following April, 1904.
1904- Saturday, April 23rd at 4:10am, Amos died at his home at the age of 71, as he had been in failing health and was bedridden since December 31st of the previous year from complications of grippe (a former name for influenza) and nervous prostration (nervous breakdown). The funeral was held at the Sangster home that following Tuesday afternoon at their 448 Seventh Street residence at 3pm, and he was buried on April 26 in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90) in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY, but sadly there is currently no grave marker for Amos (*See 2013 in Chronology below) or even some of the other family members. May 26-late June, an exhibition of his watercolors, oils & etchings were on display at his home studio for a month following his death, 448 Seventh Street, Buffalo, NY. July 23, Eliza and their niece Cora S. Sangster who was a teacher in the Lafayette High School had been living with the couple, moved down the street to 899 Seventh Street.
1905-06- Exhibited, retrospective shows by his wife at her home at 899 Seventh Street, of his paintings and etchings, Buffalo, NY.
1907- Exhibited, retrospective show of his oils, watercolors, etchings, monotypes and drawings, Niagara Hotel, Niagara Falls, NY.
1910- Exhibited, retrospective show by his wife at her home at 149 Hoyt Street, of his watercolors and etchings, Buffalo, NY.
1914- Exhibited, group show, "The Exhibition of Works by Buffalo Artists, First Local Salon", in a special section devoted to deceased Buffalo painters, Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY.
1921- February 12, Saturday evening, Amos's wife Eliza died at her home at 39 Putnam Street at the age of 89, and the service was held at 2:30pm on Tuesday afternoon February 15, and she was buried in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90), in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY. Before she died, Eliza named in her will Cora S. Sangster (1875-1948) as sole legatee & sole executrix of the family estate since she was the only surviving heir of the family, and she willed her the family burial plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery as well, Buffalo, NY.
1928- December 8, Amos's sister Urania "Rena" Nott Sangster died, and is also buried in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90) in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
1948- May 16, the only surviving heir of the Sangster family, Cora S. Sangster died, and is the last of the Sangster's to be buried in the family plot (Section H, Lot 90) in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
1952- April, exhibited, retrospective show, "Picturesque Niagara Frontier", thirty of Sangster's watercolors & etchings were on display for a full month, Buffalo Historical Society, Buffalo, NY.
1960- Exhibited, retrospective show held in honor of Amos Sangster, Buffalo Society of Artists, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
1964- May 2-Sept. 7, exhibited, group exhibition, "Three Centuries of Niagara Falls: Oils, Watercolors, Drawings and Prints", 3 Sangster prints shown, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
1976- April 30-May 30, Exhibited, solo show, showcasing his etchings from the famed folio Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, held in the Library of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
1977- February, exhibited, retrospective show held in honor of Amos Sangster, rarely seen works by the public were shown, Buffalo Historical Society, Buffalo, NY.
1983- Spring, exhibited, portfolio of etchings were shown to complement the exhibition "Golden Day/Silver Night: Perceptions of Nature in American Art (1850-1910)", Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
1986- Exhibited, May 4th- September 7th, 100th Anniversary exhibition of the publication of the Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario in 1886, along with photographs from photographer John Pfahl; a series of 18 illustrations and 52 horizontal Kodak Ektacolor color-coupler photographic prints that paralleled Sangster’s images. The show was proposed by the Amos W. Sangster Niagara River Centennial Committee in conjunction with the Buscaglia-Castellani Art Gallery (now called the Castellani Art Museum) and were to include four concurrent events, Niagara University, DeVeaux Campus, Niagara Falls, NY. The show was later incorporated into a traveling exhibition which was distributed by the Visual Studies Workshop exhibition program from Rochester, NY. The images from the show were then published in a book titled Arcadia Revisited: Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, published by the University of New Mexico Press (1988), with essays by Estelle Jussim, Anthony Bannon and John Pfahl.
1996- Nov. 28-Dec. 18, exhibited, group show, "Bygone Buffalo: Paintings and Drawings by Early and Mid-20th Century Regionalists", Fanette Goldman/Carolyn Greenfield Art Gallery, Daeman College, 4380 Main St., Amherst, NY.
2006- Exhibited, retrospective group show, “Think Ink: Prints from the Burchfield-Penney’s Collection”, March 10th- June 25th, organized by the Buffalo State College design professor Peter Sowiski of the Fine Arts Department with Scott Propeack, collections manager at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.
2010-2011-October 23-May 29, exhibited, group show, "Time Share: An Historic Collaboration", with artwork from the collection of the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society (Now the Buffalo History Museum), Margret L. Wendt Gallery & the R. William Doolittle Gallery, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.
2012- January, most of the original preliminary artwork of pen & ink wash and gouache paintings, as well as drawings and various etchings for the famed folio Niagara River and Falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario surfaced from a private collection, and were acquired by Meibohm Fine Arts, and intensive work immediately began for a special October 2013 exhibition here at the gallery, titled "Sangster's Niagara", to highlight the original artwork alongside Sangster's etchings from the folio series, and additionally a special feature article was written by Mark Strong, of Meibohm Fine Arts for Western New York Heritage magazine, for their fall 2013 issue.
2012- June-August, exhibited, group show, "After 1812: A Shared Frontier", Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.
2013- Exhibit, solo show, "Sangster's Niagara", original painting & drawing studies, and etchings from the 1886 Niagara River from Lake to Lake folio, October 18-November 16 (extended to Nov. 30th), at Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY link to our exhibition page to view additional artwork from the show. October, a feature article on Amos W. Sangster titled "Sangster's Niagara" with cover illustration by Sangster of an ink wash, gouache & pencil study of 'Buffalo Harbor', is published by Western New York Heritage Magazine (Fall Issue, Vol. 16, No. 3, Pg. 26), written by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY. Saturday, November 2, special talk given on Amos W. Sangster titled "Sangster's Niagara: Original drawings and watercolors for the 1886 etching folio & the chine collé etching process", for the WNYAHA's Annual Conference titled "Historic Arts and Artists of Western New York", with guest speaker and local paper conservator, Laura Schell and Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, held at the Genesee Community College, Batavia, NY.
2014- November, Meibohm Fine Arts is actively pursuing a grant through the Niagara River Greenway Commission, with the help of Erie County Historian Doug Kohler, to help fund a memorial headstone for Amos W. Sangster, and Mark Strong of MFA is currently working with the Stone Art Memorial Co. in Lackawanna, NY, who is designing and sculpting the monument, which will feature an etched design from one of Sangster's original artworks that was featured in the exhibit "Sangster's Niagara" at Meibohm Fine Arts Oct. 16-Nov. 30th, 2013, and the memorial headstone would be placed at the Sangster family plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery (listed as a historical marker), hopefully by the end summer of 2015 (please check back for updates).
2015- June-August, solo exhibit, solo show, held at the Buffalo Club (1st Floor next to the Founder's Bar), and sponsored by the Arts & Archives Committee member Carol V. Kociela, in cooperation with Meibohm Fine Arts and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. The exhibit centers around the large oil painting in the Buffalo Club's permanent collection titled "Summer Morning" (French Creek, Canada, 24" x 50"), purchased directly from the artist 1892 (*See original painting, copper plate & etching images above for more info), and the exhibit included an art lecture on June 16, by Grace Meibohm and Mark Strong. The painting "French Creek" is the cornerstone of the exhibit which also features many original drawings, studies, etchings and watercolors that directly relate to the scene in the painting, Buffalo Club, 388 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY.
2019- April 14-December 20, exhibition, "Lake to Lake: John Pfahl and Amos Sangster", The Castellani Art Museum will present an exhibition that reflects on the legacy of two artists whose works, spanning two centuries, captured the beauty and grandeur of the Niagara region, Castellani Art Museum, 5795 Lewiston Rd, Niagara University of New York.
Memberships/Associations: Charter member and was elected to be on the first council of the Buffalo Society of Artists, 1891 (later served as Vice President of the BSA in 1893), Buffalo, NY; The Buffalo Art Club (1st president, 1883), Buffalo, NY; Co-founded an etching club out of his home studio (Circa early 1870’s), Buffalo, NY; Charter member with his brother James with the Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department, Excelsior Hose No. IV; Was a Charter member of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Buffalo, NY; and a member of the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church on Michigan Street, Buffalo, NY.
Honors & Prizes: 2nd Prize for his oil painting “Summer Morning” (on Frenchman's Creek), at an early Buffalo Society of Artists exhibition (c.1892, in the collection of the Buffalo Club), Buffalo, NY; 1986, Sangster’s etchings from the 1886 collection were exhibited in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the publication of the folio, along with photographs by John Pfahl which were executed especially for the occasion and the show was proposed by the Amos W. Sangster Niagara River Centennial Committee in conjunction with the Buscaglia-Castellani Art Gallery (now called the Castellani Art Museum), at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY, and was to include four concurrent events--The show was later incorporated into a traveling exhibition which was distributed by the Visual Studies Workshop exhibition program from Rochester, NY.
Museum Collections: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY; Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, MA.
Public/Private Collections: The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo, NY; Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (Grosvenor Room), Buffalo, NY; The Buffalo Club, for the large oil painting "Summer Morning (on Frenchman's Creek)" (2nd Prize at early BSA exhibition and companion piece to "Summer Evening" purchased by George Van Vleck), commissioned by art patron the Honorable Sherman S. Rogers (American, 1830-1900), Buffalo, NY; The National Academy, for a watercolor painting of "Beaver Island" (which was hung 'On the Line' at the National Academy), commissioned by art patron the Honorable Sherman S. Rogers (American, 1830-1900), NYC, who helped place the painting in the National Academy; Occidental Chemical Corporation, Niagara Falls, NY; Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation in their conference room, Syracuse, NY; and Niagara Savings Bank along the hallway past the Presidents office, Niagara Falls, NY.
For possible additional information or other images from Amos W. Sangster, please visit the AskArt link.
(Written & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, meibohmfinearts.com)