John Fery (Austrian, 1859 - 1934) studied art in Vienna, Düsseldorf, and Munich. He conducted hunting expeditions to the Pacific Northwest for wealthy Europeans before settling in the United States in 1886. He lived for various lengths of time in Salt Lake City, Utah, Arizona, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.
While traveling and painting in the Rocky Mountains, Fery impressed members of the Hill family, developers of the Great Northern Railway Company, who hired him to paint pictures dramatizing the beauties of the region. Many of the more than three-hundred works he completed hung in station houses, hotels, and lodges served by the railroad.
The Great Northern Railway Company was not only an important patron for Fery and other artists, but as has been noted by William Gerdts in Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting 1710-1920 and others, its stations and hotels served in a real sense as the first "art galleries" in the West, at a time before traditional art institutions were even envisioned in the region.
Since that time, arts institutions in the West have grown in number and prominence. Among the many holding examples of Fery's work are the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana, the Boise Art Museum, and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.
Fery settled on Orcas Island, Washington in 1929, only to see his studio and much of his work destroyed the same year by fire. He died in Everett, Washington in 1934.