"America wanted the Telegraph more than they wanted pictures hanging on the wall of a museum in France."
- Interview with Lance Mayer, Conservator of the Gallery of the Louvre
Samuel Morse is mostly remembered for his contribution of the electric telegraph. Comparatively less is known regarding the 'turning point' that led to the invention that revolutionized communication, namely the public rejection of his prized painting, 'Gallery of the Louvre.' Morse invested his money and years of his life to his craft, even incorporating himself and his loved ones into his paintings. As a result, the public rejection of 'Gallery of the Louvre' was deeper and on a more private level, as evidenced in many of Morse's letters as he abandoned painting altogether. The timing of Morse's personal reaction to the failure of his great painting forced him to turn to the "one thing" his father preached that ultimately made him the genius we all know today.
"Science and Art are not Opposed."
-Samuel F.B. Morse
"Statesman nor warrior has ever so impressed the world as this man by his single achievement. What telegraphy has done for progress cannot be told."
-The Daily Constitution, April 5, 1872
While Morse did make his mark, his second life's work pointed toward the future and not the past, with his invention of the telegraph and the beginnings of photography. Morse more than made up for his financial losses with his inventions, as the telegraph influenced several historical events including the laying of the Transatlantic Cable, the Mexican-American War and the Civil War.
"I think Samuel Morse had a lofty conception of himself and he was looking for where to make his mark. And I think he tried painting and that discouraged him. He looked around and he did make his mark. And he made a lot more money with the telegraph than he ever did with painting."
-Gay Myers, Conservator of Samuel Morse's
'Gallery of the Louvre'
Gay Myers & Lance Mayer. Conservators of Samuel Morse's
"Gallery of the Louvre." 2012. Taylor Walsh.