Samuel Sartain, Major General William Sherman

Samuel Sartain: Major General William Sherman (1865) Mezzotint on paper
Major General William Sherman
Mezzotint on paper
Credit Line
Museum purchase, 2004
13" x 10"

Most famous for the scorched-earth policies he implemented against the Confederate States during the Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman is one of the most famous generals of the Union Army. He received recognition for his outstanding command of military service as well as criticism for the harshness of his "march to the sea,” in which he cut through the heart of the Confederacy, burning Atlanta and laying waste to vast stretches of farmland.

As a master printmaker, Sartain used a mezzotint process to create this image of General Sherman. Mezzotint is a printmaking process that creates an amazing range of tonal gradations and incredible rich darks. The entire surface of a metal plate is initially roughened evenly with a tool known as a rocker (rocks back and forth). If printed at this point, the image would be entirely black. The image is created by selectively burnishing or smoothing areas of the surface with metal tools. Smoothed parts will print lighter than those areas not smoothed.

Sartain is from one of the most illustrious and influential families in the history of art in the United States. As artists, printmakers, and educators, the Sartains played a central part in Philadelphia's and America's art community. Sartain became a master printmaker under the tutelage of his father, John Sartain, who is known as the "father of mezzotint engraving.”



Stories Trigger
Blank field used to trigger form on artwork and artist pages. DO NOT EDIT



We invite you to share your ideas, knowledge, and stories as they relate to the art in our collection. Read what people had to say about this art or use the form below and write to us yourself.

Invalid Input
Invalid Input on Email
Invalid Input on Phone
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
  • I own one like this. Still in it's original frame, so I didn't know it had writing below it. I thought it was an engraving over top of a photograph.

    Audrey Heffner
  • I have a print by s. sartain. signed.yours truly a. Lincoln. is it real