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Charles Cushing Wright
Date: 1796-1854
Remarks: Charles Cushing Wright, a well-known medalist and engraver, was born in Damariscotta, Maine, on May 1, 1796. As a teenager, he was a soldier in the War of 1812. After the war was over, Wright went to Utica, New York, where he was apprenticed to John Osborn, a jeweler and silversmith. It was while working for Osborn that Wright was first introduced to engraving, and he subsequently trained himself in the craft. He worked as an engraver in Albany and New York City, before moving to Savannah, Georgia in 1819, where he set up a shop. From 1820 to 1823, Wright worked in Charleston, South Carolina, where he married Lavinia Dorothy Simons (q.v.), and was a founder of the South Carolina Academy of Fine Art. The couple moved to New York City in 1823, and Wright became a partner of the Durand brothers, Cyrus and Asher Brown (q.v.). In New York, Wright made portraits on coins and medallions and was active in the New York art world. He was one of the members of the New York Drawing Association, which, in 1825, founded the National Academy of Design. When the Academy was formally instituted the following year, Wright designed its official seal. He is further linked to this group by the inclusion of his drawing in the John L. Morton (q.v.) album of sketches owned by the Society. In 1829, Wright formed a partnership with James Bale, and in 1835, with Nathaniel Smith Pretiss. Wright was a regular exhibitor at the National Academy and the American Art-Union. He died in New York on June 7, 1854.