John La Farge, 1835-1910, born in New York City of French parents, was a painter, mualist, stained glass artist and writer. After traveling around Europe between 1856 and 1858 studying art, mostly independently, he returned to New York and studied law for a short while. He soon returned to his art work. His early work consisted primarily of landscape and flower studies, showing a particular interest in light and color. One of his teachers in this area was William Morris Hunt, who greatly influenced La Farge. In the 1870s, La Farge began mural painting and executed many murals for churches, one of his finest examples being the Church of the Ascension in New York City. He also painted secular murals. During this period, La Farge also developed an interest in stained glass and in 1899 was awarded a Legion of Honor at the Paris Exposition for his work in the field. He was honored for his development of "opalescent glass" and credited with reviving the art.
La Farge also wrote and lectured. In addition to two books on his travels to Japan and the South Seas, he wrote PAINTINGS IN AMERICAN COLLECTIONS, CONSIDERATION ON PAINTINGS, THE HIGHER LIFE IN ART, and GREAT MASTERS. The red seal, or chop, on many of his paintings was devised during a visit he made to Japan in 1886 with his friend, Henry Adams. It is a monogram that he used to authenticate previous and subsequent works.