2 February, 2009
Artist » Pre-Raphaelites (1848-1920) » Anderson, Sophie Gengembre (French, 1823 – 1903

Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823 – 10 March 1903) was a French-born British artist who specialised in genre painting of children and women, typically in rural settings. Her work is loosely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Sophie was born in Paris, the daughter of Charles Gengembre, an architect, and his English wife. She had two brothers, Philip and Henry P. She was largely self-taught in art, but briefly studied portraiture with Charles de Steuben in Paris in 1843. The family left France for the United States to escape the 1848 revolution, first settling in Cincinnati, Ohio, then Manchester, Pennsylvania, where she met and married British genre artist W Anderson.

In the USA, Anderson initially worked in portraiture, including work for the chromolithographers Louis Prang & Co. In 1854 the Andersons moved to London, where Sophie exhibited her works at the Royal Academy. They returned to New York in 1858, then settled in London again around 1863. In 1871, they moved to the island of Capri for health reasons, but Sophie continued to send her work back to London for exhibitions. They returned permanently to England in 1894, settling in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Anderson's work was widely exhibited at venues including the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), the British Institution, Grosvenor Gallery (1878-87) and many regional galleries in England. She also exhibited in the USA at the Pittsburgh Artists Association and the National Academy of Design, New York. Her early works showed strong attention to botanical and other detail, in common with the Pre-Raphaelites.

She died at home in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1903. Her husband W died in the same year. Her brother Henry P. Gengembre (b. 1825) was also an artist, active in Cincinnati in the early 1850s. Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sophie Gengembre Anderson


A world record price for her work of more than £1 million was achieved by No Walk Today at Sotheby's, London, in November 2008.

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