Born in rural New Jersey, Everett Shinn first studied engineering and industrial design at the Spring Gardens Institute in Philadelphia. He took his first job designing fixtures for gas lighting, but soon became bored. He then enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied painting and drawing under Thomas Anshutz. After rooming with George Luks, a fellow newspaper illustrator, Shinn eventually became a founding member of the group now known as the Ashcan School.
The American painter John Singer Sargent was born in Florence, Italy, and grew up in the cultural capitals of Europe, thanks to his parents, who left Philadelphia for a nomadic, expatriate life abroad. Exposed to European art and culture from birth, Sargent attended art schools wherever he was living and developed into a consummate cosmopolitan, evident in his portrait commissions of social elites, first in Paris and then in England and the United States.
Born in Kamianets-Podilskyi, Russia (now Ukraine), Louis Ritman moved to Chicago with his family when he was a child. After apprenticing with a sign painting company, he began his formal artistic training by taking a drawing class at the Hull House. He then went on to attend prestigious art schools in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Paris. In 1911, Ritman made his first visit to the colony of Impressionist painters in the Normandy village of Giverny, where he made his permanent home in 1916.
Born in England and raised in Philadelphia, Thomas Moran was almost entirely self-taught as an artist. Producing romantic landscapes in the tradition of Cole and Bierstadt, his career shifted in 1871 when the director of the United States Geological Survey invited him to join an expedition to what would become Yellowstone Park. The trip began one of the most inspired and productive periods of Moran's life, setting the tradition of American landscape painting on a modern, experimental trajectory.