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Elliott Daingerfield was born at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. As a youth he took art lessons and served as a photographer's apprentice. He continued his artistic education in New York City, where he studied with William Satterlee (1844-1908), and made the acquaintance of George Inness. In the mid-1890s Daingerfield began to create religious paintings that reflected English Pre-Raphaelite influences in themes and techniques. His personal religious convictions also influenced the content of his paintings throughout the course of his life. In 1902 he secured a commission to paint murals for the lady chapel of the Church of Saint Mary in New York City. An art scholar as well as a painter, Daingerfield wrote books on art theory, and studies of the art of George Inness and Ralph Albert Blakelock. He was professor of painting at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women.
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