It's an interesting quirk of publishing history that a French illustrator is better known to many Americans than the American illustrators who were his contemporaries. But in the great westward migrations of the late-19th to early-20th centuries, many Americans carried with them but a single book: a family Bible. For many, it was the only book they would ever own. And not infrequently--judging by how often examples turn up in yard sales, garage sales, friends-of-the-library book sales and the like in many Western states--that family Bible was a Bible illustrated by Gustave Doré.
Although this Bible was originally published in two folio volumes in France in 1866, reprints in numerous languages quickly followed. The first English-language publications were parts published in New York (30 parts at around $2 .00 each) and London (64 parts at 4 shillings each), but many single-volume reprints followed in quick succession, including volumes that were mostly the illustrations themselves. The Doré-illustrated Bible became so famous it's even mentioned by Twain in Tom Sawyer:
Doré had published his first illustrations at the tender age of fifteen. Amazingly, just a year later he was the highest paid illustrator in France! (His first illustrated book, a satire entitled Les travaux d'Hercule [The Labors of Hercules] that Doré wrote as well as illustrated, is now extremely rare.)
This was followed by a number of other successes, most notably the Bible mentioned above, Don Quixote (Doré's illustrations have influenced public perceptions of the main characters ever since)...
To keep up with the demand for his work (he was better known during his own day for his paintings), Doré often had as many as 40 people at a time working to transfer his sketches onto plates. Not bad for an artist who never had an art lesson in his life, and who was (and continues to be) disparaged by critics. (The painting below, Les Saltimbanques, is from 1874):