The History of Plein Air Painting
Before the 19th century, landscape painting was used as the basis for allegorical and narrative themes. The landscape was idealized. Jacob van Ruysdael and Claude Lorrain captured effects of perspective and atmosphere. However, their paintings were composed much as a set designer would create a backdrop for a theater production. For these artists, outdoor painting was confined to sketches or preliminary studies for reference.
Outdoor painting has a relatively short history when measured against the great span of art across the centuries. It was not until the early 1800s that artists rejected the contrived landscapes of their predecessors and turned to nature for their inspiration. It was a small group of Englishmen, most notably John Constable and Joseph William Mallord Turner, who first produced finished works direct from nature. In 1824, John Constable’s paintings View on the Stour (1819) and The Hay Wain (1821) were exhibited at the prestigious Salon in Paris, winning gold medals. These works had a profound influence on the course of landscape painting in the 19th century. In France, Jean Batiste Camille Corot also painted scenes forgoing romanticized views.
EARLY OUTDOOR PAINTING MOVEMENTS
The Barbizon School
Began in France and flourished from 1830 to 1870. Members included Theodore Rousseau, Constant Troyon, and Claude Daubigny.
A group of painters in Tuscany from 1850 to 1900. Influenced by painters in France.
They rejected the academic romanticism of the time and turned to modern life for inspiration — again working directly from nature. Silvestro Lega, Giovanni Fattori, and Vincenzo Cabianca were some of the names in this group.
The Barbizon School and I Macchiaioli helped form the great movement of the Impressionists. Beginning in France in the 1860s, with their first show in 1874, the Impressionists rejected the closed system of the academies. They embraced modern life as a theme. Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro were prominent figures in the group. The Impressionists sought to capture the effects of atmosphere, basing their art on the science of color and light. Most of their work was painted outdoors in a few hours’ time. For larger works, they would return to the same location, at the same time of day, and complete the painting.
The Hudson River School
In America, the expansion in the West beckoned artists to paint these new lands. Collectors were eager to see the wilds of America through these paintings. The first and most notable painters in the Hudson River School were Thomas Cole and Asher Brown Durand.Following in their footsteps, were Frederick Edwin Church, Thomas Hill, Albert Bierstadt, and William Keith.
The first American artists to embrace the new Impressionist style were John Joseph Enniking, Childe Hassam and Mary Cassatt. American Impressionism is a blend of academic training and Impressionist thought. This technique is recognized by more spontaneous brushwork and a lighter palette than the Hudson River School style. A few of the painters at the turn of the century defy categorization, John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase come to mind.
20th-century outdoor painters had a unique opportunity to choose whatever style they felt best reflected their beliefs about painting. Many fine painters worked through the middle of the century. Carl Rungius, Edgar Payne, and John Fabian Carlson are just a few. Contemporary Painters have discovered outdoor painting again. Building on the past, their commitment to works of quality has created a new golden age of painting.
Master Outdoor Painters
By Armand Cabrera
Giuseppe Abbati was born on January 1, 1836 in Naples, Italy. He was the son of Vincenzo Abbati, a painter known for his depictions of interiors at the court of the Duchess of Berry. While in Venice, Abbati studied at the Academy with Grigoletti. He returned to Naples in 1853 and followed in his father’s footsteps — painting interiors. In 1860, Abbati fought for unification with Garibaldi’s troops in Sicily. He was wounded in battle and lost his right eye in the attack of Capua.
That same year, Abbati settled in Florence and became involved with the movement, “I Macchiaioli”. He eventually embraced their commitment to outdoor painting. In 1861, he entered two paintings of interiors in the National Exposition and was awarded a medal. In protest over the jury, he refused the medal. After the Exposition, at the encouragement of the other members of the Macchiaioli, Abbati gave up painting interior scenes in his studio. He adopted the interests of the group and sketched directly from life all’aperto (out-of-doors). His small works painted in the following years are exquisite examples of outdoor paintings that truly stand with the best of the French Impressionists.
Because of his training, Abbati excelled at architecture and light falling across natural surfaces — such as wood and stone. Many of the scenes he painted were concerned with the contrasts between interior and exterior light sources. It was Abbati’s belief that white and black were extremes that rarely appeared in nature as you see them on a palette. Because of this belief, Abbati used white and black sparingly. In his paintings, Abbati controlled the sense of light with a selective range of tones and a controlled gradation of color.
On February 21, 1868, Abbati was bitten by his dog and died in Florence of rabies. He was only 32 years old.
Frank Weston Benson was born in Salem, Massachusetts in March 1862. He was the oldest boy of six children. The Bensons descended from a prominent seafaring family. Frank’s father, George, was a prosperous cotton merchant in Boston. Frank Benson had all the privileges of wealth with a good education and strong family and social structure. Frank excelled in sports and enjoyed hunting and sailing.
Frank developed an interest in art and at sixteen informed his mother he would like to pursue art as a profession. His mother convinced his father to allow Frank to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. On his 21st birthday, Frank was given the sum of $1,000 dollars and a ticket to Paris to attend art school. He was also instructed by his parents to return home when his money ran out.
In Paris, Frank attended the Academie Julian under Gustave-Rodolphe Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre. He stayed in Europe from 1883 to 1885, spending the summer of 1884 in Concarneau, Brittany, painting outdoors with the artist colony.
When Frank returned to Salem in 1885, he worked as a portrait painter — to limited success. In 1887, he took a position at the Portland School of Art in Maine. He stayed there for only one year. He returned to Salem and married his childhood friend, Ellen Peirson.
Frank opened a studio in Boston and accepted a teaching position at his old school, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Frank painted portraits and figurative works and garnered critical acclaim and financial success. In 1898, Frank joined The Ten and began showing his work with the group in their annual exhibitions. He embraced his own idea of Impressionist technique, incorporating his fascination with figures and family. Commencing around 1900, Frank created iconographic female images of American Impressionism that are still being copied today — right down to the Victorian dresses and hats. His new style used a lighter palette and looser brushwork. These paintings, executed outdoors, secured his ultimate success.
After the 1920’s, Frank continued his oil painting. He also turned to etching and watercolors depicting wildlife, hunting and fishing motifs. In his life, Frank won more medals for his work than any other American artist. He died in 1951 at the age of 89 in Salem, Massachusetts.
Richard Parkes Bonington
Richard Parkes Bonington was born in Arnold, England in 1802. His family moved to Calais, France in 1817, then moved again to Paris. The young Bonington spent time copying pictures in the Louvre. He met Eugene Delacroix in Paris and the two artists became lifelong friends. At fifteen, Bonington entered the studio of Baron Gros. Bonington rose quickly in the ranks. His bravura painting and excellent drawing facility garnered much praise throughout his career. The Academic schedule of drawing from casts soon bored Bonington and he found himself at odds with his teacher. By 1821, the relationship reached its breaking point and he set out on his own path of study.
Bonington preferred to paint on location and record nature and modern life. Longing to break from the stylized stage settings and mythic genre of most academic landscapes, Bonington set out on a sketching tour to Normandy. He explored painting and sketching from life, focusing on coastal scenes. In 1822, he illustrated travel books for Parisian publishers. The success of these illustrations led to his demand with publishers, dealers and collectors. During this time, Bonington studied the art of lithography and received financial backing to publish his own set of lithographic views of Normandy.
Bonington received a Gold Medal for his entry in the Salon of 1824. The Salon was a turning point for landscape art. Young painters sought to overthrow the restrictions on subject and finish set by the Academics. Leading the attack were the English painters.
Although Bonington’s career spanned less than ten years, his influence on French painting was profound. Bonington was skilled in watercolors and oils and also created fine lithographs and engravings. He was the link between the English landscape painters, Turner and Constable, and the Barbizon School and the Impressionists.
Bonington fell ill during a sketching trip and contracted a complication of pulmonary consumption. He died one month before his 26th birthday.
Eugene Louis Boudin
Eugène-Louis Boudin was born in the harbor community of Honfleur, France in 1824. He was the son of a harbor pilot. In 1835, the family moved to Le Havre, where the twelve year old Boudin was apprenticed to a printer who ran a stationary and frame shop. At twenty, Boudin co-owned an art supply store and drew in his spare time. Paintings by prominent artists were exhibited and sold in his store.
Many of the Barbizon painters had a strong influence on Boudin’s attitude toward painting and they encouraged the young Boudin to work from life. He sold his partnership in the store to buy out his military service and devote himself to painting fulltime.
In 1850, the town of Le Havre granted him a three-year scholarship to study in Paris. Boudin first exhibited at the 1859 Salon and was accepted every year from 1863 to 1870. He also exhibited at the 1863 Salon des Refusés.
After his return to Le Havre, Boudin spent many summers on the farm of Saint Siméon, near Honfleur. He traveled extensively in Normandy and Brittany, painting harbor and beach scenes. In the 1850s, Boudin met Claude Monet, a teenager at the time. Boudin did much to help Monet develop his ideas on painting.
Boudin participated in the first Impressionist show in 1874. In 1881, he received a Third Class Medal at the Paris Salon. He received a Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889. Paul Durand Ruel bought many of Boudin’s paintings and held large exhibitions for him in the 1880’s and 1890’s.
Boudin primarily painted scenes of the sea and shore and was fascinated with the effects of light and weather. He worked almost exclusively from life. His paintings have a fresh, jewel-like quality that only comes from direct observation. His work was very popular during his lifetime, especially his beach scenes with crowds of well-dressed people.
Boudin died in 1898 at the age of 74.
Albert Bierstadt was the greatest living American landscape painter for a brief period during the 1860’s and 1870’s. His paintings extracted prices ten times what other artists bargained for their work.
Born in 1830 in Prussia, Bierstadt’s family immigrated to the United States in 1832. Albert’s interest in art was rivaled only by his fascination with money. While still in his teens, Bierstadt contracted with artist, George Harvey, to create a traveling show of Harvey’s landscape paintings. Projected on a 15’ x 17’ theater screen, Bierstadt charged the patrons an admission of 25 cents with nightly showings.
In 1853, Bierstadt traveled to Düsseldorf for three years of art study. The trip was financed by his various business endeavors in the United States. While not formally enrolled in the academy, Bierstadt trained with some of the school’s American students, including Eastman Johnson and Worthington Whittredge.
Upon his return to the United States, Bierstadt organized his first trip to the Rockies in 1859. His skill at outdoor painting was unparalleled and he produced hundreds of studies in the field. Renting space in the now famous, “Tenth Street Studio”, Albert Bierstadt began work on his “Great Pictures”.
The “Great Pictures” were impressive theater events. Hundreds of people stood in line for the opportunity to view Bierstadt’s paintings. Admission fees were charged and the paintings toured many cities. Albert Bierstadt excelled in this world. All through the 1860’s and 1870’s, his ability to cultivate important patrons and his flair for self-promotion gave Bierstadt meteoric rise to the top of the art world.
His unprecedented rise begat the wrath of the art critics. This constant attack by the press and the rapidly changing tastes of the patrons and the American public contributed to the swift demise of Bierstadt’s art career. At his death in 1902, Albert Bierstadt was all but forgotten.
Albert Bierstadt’s significant contributions to American landscape art are unquestionable. His idealized and romantic views of an untamed continent are at the root of the American promise of opportunity.
Sir Frank Brangwyn RA
Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges Belgium, in 1867. In 1874, his family moved to England. Frank Brangwyn received some artistic training in the workshops of William Morris, but received no formal artistic education. At the age of seventeen, one of Brangwyn’s paintings was accepted at the Royal Academy. His canvas, “Funeral At Sea”, painted in 1890, won a Medal of the 3rd Class at the 1891 Paris Salon.
When there was a strong interest in Orientalism, Brangwyn worked as a deck hand traveling to the Black Sea and Turkey. He created many outdoor paintings and drawings of Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Africa.
In 1895, the Parisian art dealer, Siegfried Bing, commissioned Brangwyn to decorate the exterior of his Galerie L’Art Nouveau. Brangwyn began mural painting as part of his repertoire. Brangwyn received many mural commissions.
In 1901, he painted murals for the Great Hall at Skinners, London. They were eventually completed in 1909.
Brangwyn painted eight murals for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, 1915. They are now located in the lobby at the Herbst Theatre.
His most famous murals are the British Empire Panels painted 1925 – 1932. They were commissioned to commemorate the First World War. The sixteen works cover 3,000 square feet in total. They were originally intended for the House of Lords at Westminster, but rejected for being too colorful and spirited. They are now located in Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales.
In 1930, Brangwyn was chosen by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. along with Diego Rivera to decorate the RCA Building in New York City. The murals were completed in 1934.
In 1936 Brangwyn presented the city of Bruges, Belgium with over four hundred works. In return, Bruges made Brangwyn a Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II and Citoyen d’Honneur de Bruges (only the third time the award had been given). He was knighted in 1941.
As well as murals, paintings and drawings, Brangwyn also created designs for furniture and stained glass, ceramics, table glassware, buildings and interiors. In addition he illustrated books.
Brangwyn died on the 11th of June 1956 at his home in Sussex.
Maurice Braun was born in Nagy Bittse, Hungary, October 1877, to Ferdinand and Charlotte Braun. His family moved to New York City when Maurice was four years old. Although he was apprenticed to a jeweler at the age of fourteen, Maurice eventually convinced his parents to let him pursue art. In 1897, he began studying at the National Academy of Fine Arts with Francis Jones, George Maynard, and Edgar Ward. Maurice focused on Portrait and Still Life painting. He then went on to study with William Merritt Chase. By 1909, Maurice had established himself as a Portrait artist in New York. Although very successful, Maurice found portraiture artistically confining.
In 1910, Maurice moved to California and settled in San Diego. He opened the Fine Art Academy where Maurice offered classes in drawing, design, painting and outdoor sketching. Maurice continued to exhibit on the East Coast where he received favorable reviews for his California Scenes. In 1915 and 1916, he won Gold Medals at both the San Francisco and San Diego World Fairs. Maurice also held one man shows in California and New York.
In California, Maurice became interested in the Theosophical Society. A deeply philosophical man, landscape painting for Maurice was about much more than an image being created. He sought a deeper universal connection and expression. The Society affected his ideas on life, his painting and ultimately, his style.
In 1919, Maurice married Hazel Boyer. The 1920’s proved to be a successful time for the artist. He traveled throughout the United States painting everywhere he went and continued to have one man shows of his work on both coasts and in the Midwest.
The depression saw little change in the artist’s routine, although sales dropped. To augment his loss of income, he taught art at local San Diego Schools and in his studio. Maurice Braun died in 1941 from a heart attack.
Dennis Miller Bunker
A student of Jean Léon Gérôme and William Merritt Chase, Dennis Miller Bunker was equally adept at academic portraits and open-air landscape paintings. By his death, Bunker had already established a mastery and sensitivity unmatched by most of his peers.
Born in 1861 in New York, Bunker grew up in Long Island as one of four children. At the age of fifteen, he enrolled in the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design where he studied for four years. Like most young, American artists, Bunker longed for European instruction, so in 1882 he left for the École des Beaux-Arts in France with a letter of introduction. Bunker studied at the École for two years under Jean Léon Gérôme.
Upon his return to America, Bunker immediately began exhibiting his works, winning a prize in the National Academy show in 1885. The next year, he moved to Boston and accepted a position as head of the anatomy and figure classes at Cowles Art School.
That same year, Bunker held his first one-man show at the Noyes Gallery. His 22 paintings included landscapes, still life’s, portraits and figure studies. He was introduced to Boston society and received commissions for portraits from influential patrons, including Isabella Stewart Gardner. It was through this mutual acquaintance that Bunker met John Singer Sargent. Sargent painted Bunker’s portrait, befriended him and greatly influenced his painting style. Bunker’s brushwork became more confident and his palette lightened — moving toward an Impressionist style.
Never comfortable in Boston, Bunker moved back to New York in 1889. His illustrious circle of artists and friends included Charles Platt, Abbott Thayer, Thomas Dewing, William Chase and John Singer Sargent. In 1890, Bunker showed his Impressionist paintings to mixed reviews. He won an award for a portrait in the same year at the Art Institute of Chicago and was asked to take over Chase’s classes in Brooklyn. In October, Bunker married Eleanor Hardy. A month later, he won a gold medal for the painting “The Mirror”, in Philadelphia. Bunker and his new wife traveled to the Hardy family home for the holidays. On Christmas day, Bunker complained of feeling chilled. He tragically died three days later at the age of twenty-nine.
John Fabian Carlson
John Fabian Carlson was born in Sweden — the son of a tailor. The Carlson family immigrated to New York when John was nine. At fifteen, Carlson studied in the evenings with Lucius Hitchcock at the Albright School in Buffalo. He worked as a lithographer during the day to help support his family until he was 28. He then moved to New York, having received a one-year scholarship to attend the Art Students League. At the League, he studied with Frank DuMond. In 1904 Carlson won a prize to study with Birge Harrison at Woodstock.
When the Arts Student League opened summer classes in 1906 in Woodstock, Carlson recommended Harrison be hired as the schools first teacher. Harrison, in turn, hired Carlson as his assistant. Carlson remained Harrison’s assistant until 1910. Upon Harrison’s retirement, Carlson succeeded him as director in 1911. He kept the director’s job until 1918. He then served two years as co-director of the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado from 1920 to 1922. Carlson then returned to open the John F. Carlson School of Landscape Painting in Woodstock where he worked until his death in 1945. Carlson won many awards in his lifetime and was elected full Academician to the National Academy of Design in 1925.
Carlson’s romantic realism is still an inspiration to this day. He had the ability to organize and simplify nature in such a poetic and personal way that is beautiful to behold. His design and color sense only heightened the lyrical quality in his art. He had a special affinity for trees and forest interiors. Most of his large canvases were painted in the studio from smaller outdoor sketches. Carlson’s book, Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting, is the bible for beginning painters and serious professionals. His thorough, honest approach and clear ideas set forth in the book have trained many painters. The 75+ years the book has stayed in print has proven its veracity to continued generations of artists.
Mary Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, (Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania in 1844, the daughter of Robert Simpson Cassatt and Katherine Kelso Johnston. Cassatt’s father was a stockbroker and real estate investor. When Cassatt was seven, her family moved to Europe — first living in France and then in Germany. They returned to America in 1855.
Cassatt enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1861. After four years, Cassatt became dissatisfied with the curriculum at the Academy and decided to pursue independent study of the Masters in the museums of France, Italy and Spain. In the 1860’s, this decision was unthinkable for most Victorian women born into a well-to-do family. The idea of women pursuing a career — let alone a career in art — was vulgar to most of society and would have risen more than a few eyebrows. Cassatt prevailed over her family’s protestations and moved to Paris. In Paris, she briefly studied in the Atelier of Charles Chaplin and then studied on her own.
In 1871, Cassatt fled France at the outbreak of the Franco Prussian War and returned to America. Later, she moved to Parma, Italy where she studied engraving at the Parma Academy. While in Italy, her first painting was accepted into the Paris Salon under the name of “Mary Stevenson”. In 1874, she returned to Paris. Cassatt admired the work of Manet and Degas. Although she continued to submit to the Salon, she was sympathetic towards the goals of the younger artists. These artists sought the right to freely exhibit their work without the restrictive jury process followed by the salons. In 1877, she was rejected from the Salon Show and never submitted again.
William Merritt Chase
William Merritt Chase was born in Williamsburg, Indiana. His father operated a successful business as a harness maker. When William was 12, the Chase family moved to Indianapolis where his father opened a shoe store. The young Chase had always shown an interest in art. His father, understanding his son would never follow in the shoe business, took William to a local artist to study art. This was followed by a trip to New York to continue his studies at the National Academy of Design. In New York, he had some success as a still life painter. In 1871, he returned to his family who had moved to St. Louis. Chase opened a studio there. His success was not as great as it was in New York and it was only through the generosity of a few art patrons that Chase was given the chance to go to Europe to continue his training.
In 1872, Chase began classes in Munich at the Royal Academy. Chase’s success at the academy culminated with a commission by the director, Karl Von Piloty. Chase was asked to paint portraits of Piloty’s four children. This endorsement assured Chase’s success as a painter. Before returning home to America, he was offered a position at the newly created Art Students League along with his friend and fellow student, Frank Duveneck. Chase continued to teach at the League until 1896. His exceptional skills as an artist combined with his charismatic nature and unlimited energy made him an instant success as a teacher and artist in America. This vitality allowed him to teach continually at several schools, execute numerous portrait commissions, act as head of art organizations and exhibit in annual competitions.
An accomplished portrait painter, Chase was also a dedicated outdoor painter. He believed in teaching painting from life, whether it was for still life, portrait or landscape painting. Chase was the founder of the first professional American school of outdoor painting on Long Island. The Shinnecock Summer School of Art was started in 1891 and continued until 1902. Subsequently, Chase continued classes abroad and around the country and concluded his teaching in 1913 — just three years before his death.
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot was born in Paris on July 26, 1796. His mother and father were well-to-do merchants in the textile trade. He was educated at Rouen in Northwestern France and was apprenticed to a draper.
After the death of Corot’s sister in 1814, his father gave him the income from her dowry. This allowed the young Corot to pursue a career in art and never have to be concerned about money for the rest of his life.
At 26 years of age, Corot pursued formal studies with Achille-Etna Michallon. Michallon died six months later. Corot then sought instruction in the studio of Jean-Victor Bertin. Both Michallon and Bertin were students of Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, who encouraged his students to work from life outdoors in all types of weather and under diverse lighting situations. Bertin and Michallon passed this idea onto Corot who continued the practice his entire career.
Corot is one of the fathers of the modern landscape movement. He challenged the French Academy’s idea of traditional landscape motifs for a more natural and spontaneous approach to painting. This was not an immediate process for Corot. He continued to paint historical and allegorical scenes for the Salons throughout his career as an artist, although he challenged the rigid structure of their system.
Corot’s paintings from life were painted with rapid, loose brushwork. His goal was to capture the scene accurately, without embellishment. He was not concerned with finish. Using his sketches as guides, he brought that same brushwork and sense of lighting to his large studio pieces. His acceptance in established circles came slowly, receiving a Cross of Legion of Honor in 1846. It was with the younger generation of painters that Corot had the most profound impact. Boudin, Monet and the other Impressionists revered him.
In the last ten years of his life, Corot earned large sums of money for his paintings, which were highly sought after. He was also a patron of the arts, helping many young painters with advice and monetary support. Corot died in Paris on February 22, 1875.
Albert Thomas DeRome
Albert Thomas DeRome was born in 1885 near San Luis Obispo, California. He studied art for two years at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco under Arthur Matthews. Following his schooling, DeRome worked as a cartoonist for the San Jose Mercury News and also as a commercial artist. He eventually worked as a sales manager for George Hass and Sons. This allowed DeRome to travel and paint throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. During this time, his painting partners included many prominent artists including William Keith, Percy Gray, Will Sparks and Gunner Widforss.
In 1931, DeRome suffered a serious head-on auto accident. An insurance settlement stipulated that he could no longer work as a professional artist. He moved to Pacific Grove, California, where his recovery took many years. DeRome continued to paint and exhibit as an amateur and would frequently trade his paintings for goods and services or give them away to family and friends. DeRome was equally adept at watercolor and oils, working in both mediums throughout his career.
DeRome preferred to work in a small format. Most of his paintings were no larger than 18” x 24”. He is known for his beautiful pastel color harmonies and strong design. Many of his paintings were of the San Francisco Bay Area and coastal scenes along the dunes of Monterey Bay, including Carmel and Pacific Grove. He had a tradition of writing the date, time of day and other details about the painting on the back of his canvases. He even went as far as to include comments by observers, friends and other artists. DeRome won many awards for his work, despite the restrictions placed on him by his insurance settlement. Among others, his awards included 6, First Place prizes at the Monterey County Fair between 1939 and 1947. Albert Thomas DeRome died in Carmel on July 31, 1959 at the age of 74. Tragically, many of his paintings were destroyed in the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm.
Lafayette Maynard Dixon was born in 1875 in Fresno, California. He began drawing at age seven and was encouraged by his mother and grandfather to develop his talent. Growing up on his grandfather’s ranch, Maynard had plenty of subject matter for his art. When Maynard was sixteen, his father died and the family soon moved to Alameda, California. Maynard enrolled in the San Francisco School of Design across the bay to study under Arthur Mathews. His time at the school was brief. Accustomed to working from life, Maynard felt stifled in the classroom working from castes. After a few months, he quit school.
Maynard became acquainted with Raymond Yelland who helped him with oils and watercolors. Maynard acknowledged Yelland as the only worthwhile professional help he received as an artist.
In 1893, Maynard made many sketching trips throughout California and moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in illustration. He began working for the Overland Monthly and the Morning Call. It was in the pages of these magazines where Maynard sharpened his picture-making skills. In 1899, he accepted the position of Art Director for William Randolph Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner. In 1900, Maynard began to feel the strain of constant deadlines. As a result, he began taking painting trips to other western states. His travels throughout the Southwest solidified his connection to the Native American culture that had intrigued him his entire life. It was during this time he adopted the symbol of the Thunderbird — replacing his signature with this icon.
In 1905, he married Lillian West. They had one child. Displaced by the great earthquake and fire of 1906, Maynard lost almost everything he owned. He headed to New York with his family to work for Harpers Magazine and other national publications. New York City was not for him. He returned to San Francisco in 1912.
Maynard gave up illustration to pursue easel painting and mural work. He divorced his first wife in 1920 and married Dorothea Lange, a famous photographer. They had two children. When the depression hit in 1929, Maynard painted murals for the WPA. In 1935, he divorced again and married artist, Edith Hamlin.
Maynard had always suffered from asthma and rheumatism. As his health deteriorated, he moved to Tucson, Arizona to alleviate his symptoms. He and his new wife split their time between Tucson and Mount Carmel, Utah. Maynard Dixon died in Tucson in 1946 at the age of 71.
His home and studio in Mount Carmel is now part of the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts. The goal of the Foundation is to preserve Maynard Dixon’s estate and his contribution to American art.
Arthur Wesley Dow
Arthur Wesley Dow was born to a poor family in Ipswich, Massachusetts. After Dow graduated from High School, he was unable to afford to go to college. He did, however, receive further training from Reverend John Cowles, a retired seminary teacher, who taught Dow Latin, Greek and Mathematics.
Dow’s interest in art led him to study with James Stone and also to befriend Frank Duveneck. Stone and Duveneck had both studied in Munich, Germany. In 1884, Dow set sail for Paris to study at the Academie Julian under Jules Lefebvre and Gustave Boulanger. Dow studied diligently in Paris, setting his goal of 18 sketches a week. In 1885, Dow traveled to Brittany, staying in the small village of Pont Avon. It was there that Dow embraced the Barbizon aesthetic of painting from life. In 1887, his Brittany painting, A Field in Kerlaouen, was accepted into the Paris Salon. In 1889, two of Dow’s paintings were accepted into the Salon in addition to a piece being accepted into the Universal Exposition, where it won an “Honorable Mention”.
Dow returned to the United States in 1890, settling in the Boston area. He was artistically influenced after seeing prints by Japanese artists in a book. In 1893, he became Assistant Curator of Japanese Art at the Museum of Fine Art under the Director, Ernest Fenollosa. Fenollosa mentored Dow, helping him to refine his appreciation for Asian art.
Dow’s interest in Japanese art enabled him to write his monumental book, Composition, first published in 1899 and still in print today. Dow set forth a radical idea for the time — art need not imitate nature, but should develop organically from the formal abstract relationships of line, hue, and notan (a Japanese term referring to light and dark patterns within a picture) to improve upon nature to evoke feeling — Dow did not merely borrow the forms and style of Japanese art; he sought a blend of Western and Eastern art. His landscapes and prints were based on studies of nature using this synthesis.
In 1903, Dow became head of the art department at Columbia University Teachers College. Over a 30-year period, he taught at Columbia University Teachers College, The Arts Students League, Pratt Institute, and his own, Ipswich Summer School of Art.
Dow‘s teachings rejected the accepted concept that painting and sculpture were of a higher level than the applied arts, such as ceramics, furniture, jewelry, and photography. In his classes, Dow taught all these art forms. For Dow, all arts and crafts were of equal value and should be simultaneously beautiful and functional. This became a basic tenet of the Arts and Crafts movement in America.
Shortly after delivering a lecture on Dec. 13, 1922, Dow suffered a heart attack and died.
Asher B. Durand
Asher Brown Durand was born August 21, 1796, in Jefferson Village, New Jersey (now called Maplewood). Durand was one of eleven children. When Durand was 16 years old, he apprenticed as an engraver to Peter Maverick, studying for five years. He then became a partner in the firm, running the New York branch. After he contracted to make an engraving of the painting of the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull, Durand secured his reputation as one of the finest engravers in the country.
Durand helped found the New York Drawing Association in 1825. The next year, the Association was renamed the National Academy of Design.
In 1835, Durand was commissioned by art patron, Luman Reed, to paint portraits of the first seven Presidents of the United States. The commission was instrumental in establishing Durand’s reputation as a painter. After Reed’s death, Durand began corresponding and painting with landscape painter, Thomas Cole. Durand’s interest in landscape painting grew with Cole as both his friend and mentor. Thomas Cole was the finest landscape painter in America at that time. Durand and Cole often traveled together to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to paint outdoors.
Durand exhibited his studies from nature in the annual National Academy of Design (NAD) shows. Critics responded favorably to the fresher, naturalistic views. This break from tradition established him as a modern painter. Durand became President of the National Academy of Design and held the post from 1845 until 1861.
In 1848, Thomas Cole died unexpectedly. Durand was crowned his successor in the national press.
Durand authored ‘Letters on Landscape Painting’ — a series of nine articles for the magazine, The Crayon. Durand’s philosophy about landscape painting resonated with the press. For years, there had been a cry for American art, separate from European ideology. Durand’s insistence on the study of nature as the source of truth in landscape painting gained a following among younger artists. He continued Cole’s legacy, promoting an American school of art with landscape painting at its forefront. Where Cole’s landscapes were still painted in the European tradition of allegorical reference, Durand’s ideal embraced a more naturalistic approach. He set the stage for the Barbizon and Impressionist aesthetics that would overtake the Hudson River School romanticism.
Durand continued to paint outdoors into his eighties. He died at the old age of ninety. He attributes his long, healthy life to embracing Sylvester Graham’s system of vegetarianism and clean living.
John Joseph Enneking
John Joseph Enneking was born on October 4, 1841 in Minster, Ohio. His parents, Joseph and Margaretha, were farmers. Enneking showed an interest in art from an early age, drawing landscapes and animals. Tragically, Enneking’s parents died in 1856. He was taken in by an aunt and uncle in Cincinnati.
In Cincinnati, it is believed Enneking saw his first art exhibitions and resolved to become a professional artist. He took art lessons at Cincinnati’s Mount Mary’s College. He later fought as a Union Soldier in the Civil War, was wounded and taken captive by the Confederates. When released, he went to Boston, built a home in Hyde Park and married.
Enneking traveled to Europe to continue his training. He studied first in Munich then in Paris under Leon Bonnat and Charles Daubigny. In 1873, Enneking was painting beside the most famous Barbizon and Impressionist painters, including Millet, Corot, Renoir, Monet and Pissarro. Enneking traveled and painted with Monet and Pissarro in Argenteuil.
Enneking returned to Boston in 1876. He was a great proponent of Impressionism, encouraging many young American painters to train with Monet in France. Enneking opened a studio next to Childe Hassam and George Fuller. He was considered one of the top modern landscape painters in New England at the time.
Enneking’s training allowed him to blend academic drawing with the spontaneous brushwork and heavy impasto of the Barbizon and Impressionist schools, giving him a unique approach to landscapes. Although he was adept at many types of subject matter, he is most remembered for his beautiful depictions of forest interiors and blazing New England sunset scenes.
More than just a painter, Enneking was also a fierce conservationist, advocating preservation and conservation of wild places. John Joseph Enneking died in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, in 1916.
Elizabeth A. Forbes
Elizabeth Armstrong was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1859. Her father encouraged her artistic abilities. He died of a stroke after sending Elizabeth and her mother (as chaperone) to school in England. Elizabeth returned to Canada in 1878. Elizabeth and her mother soon moved to New York where Elizabeth enrolled in the Art Students League. Elizabeth stayed at the League for three years, studying with William Merritt Chase. Chase was a strong proponent of painting from life and encouraged his students to do the same. Chase directed Elizabeth to continue her studies in Munich, where Chase had been trained. In Munich, Elizabeth confronted many difficult barriers. Being a woman and Canadian-born, she suffered much discrimination. After only five months of study, Elizabeth chose to return to Canada to escape the prejudice.
In 1882, Elizabeth persuaded her mother to move again. This time they traveled to Pont Avon, Brittany. There she participated in an active and lively art colony dedicated to outdoor study. In 1885, Elizabeth and her mother continued on to Newlyn. By this time, an uncle in London helped to establish a market for Elizabeth’s watercolors and etchings. It was in Newlyn where she met her future husband, the painter, Stanhope Forbes. They married in 1889. At that time, Stanhope was considered the leader of the Newlyn style.
Elizabeth was extremely hard-working and prolific; her marriage did little to change her habits. She showed her work at the Grosvenor Gallery in London as well as at the Royal Academy and the Society of British Artists. She won a Gold Medal in 1893 at the Chicago Exhibition. She also raised a son, taught classes, wrote poetry and edited The Paperchase, a magazine produced for the Newlyn artists. Elizabeth’s sensitive paintings of children were recognized for their fine draughtsmanship and color.
Elizabeth owned a movable studio on wheels. She would take this studio to locations and paint her models at the scene. Tragically, Elizabeth died in 1912 at the age of 53.
Stanhope Forbes was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1857. When he was eleven, Forbes began drawing at the encouragement of family friends who took him on sketching trips. In college, Forbes began studying under John Sparkes. Sparkes emphasized drawing from casts and models, as opposed to copying drawings by the masters. Forbes enrolled in the Royal Academy School and briefly studied under Millias, Leghton and Alma Tadema.
In 1880, Forbes traveled to France, enrolling in the studio of Leon Bonnat near Montmartre. In Bonnat’s classes, Forbes was trained to paint from life. However, Bonnat did not sympathize with outdoor painting that was becoming popular with the students at the time. By 1881, Forbes was working in Cancale with other students who revered painting outdoors. The sale of a figure painting to the Walker Art Gallery so inspired Forbes that he dedicated his career to outdoor figure work.
Forbes finished his two years of study in France and returned home to England where he was anxious to establish himself as an artist. He began searching for a picturesque village to paint. He settled on Newlyn in Cornwall. Artists had been visiting the coast of Cornwall for years. A recently built rail stop to Penzance, only a few miles from Newlyn, allowed artists to live in the area and still have easy access to London and their galleries. Because of Forbes’ financial and critical success, he was considered the leader of the Newlyn Colony.
In 1886, he became engaged to Elizabeth Armstrong — an artist who had come to Newlyn to paint the year before. They married in 1889.
Forbes fidelity to outdoor figure work required a Herculean effort. He did not believe in painting nature as is compositionally and so each painting required much planning.
One of his most successful works, “A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach” is 4 feet by 5 feet, with more than 26 figures. For this painting, Forbes had to contend with the challenges of weather and changing effects of light. To complicate matters, models were often unreliable.
Many of Forbes paintings were finished over months, not days, requiring the complexity equal to a movie set. To avoid losing precious time when the weather was inclement, Forbes painted interior scenes. Usually he was working on at least two paintings at the same time — one outdoor and one interior. His greatest successes came during the 1880’s and 1890’s. Forbes continued to paint Newlyn and its citizens for the rest of his life. He died in 1947 at the age of 90.
William Forsyth was born in California, Ohio on October 15, 1854. He was the oldest of four children. The Forsyth family moved to Versailles, Indiana when he was only ten, eventually they settled in Indianapolis.
During the Financial Panic of 1873, Forsyth left high school to help earn money for his family. He worked with his brother, painting stained glass window decorations in houses. Forsyth never returned to high school, although he was motivated to continue his education. He was a voracious reader of fiction and non-fiction and taught himself math.
In 1877, Forsyth attended classes at the newly opened Indiana School of Art in Indianapolis. Although the school closed after only two years, Forsyth made contacts that allowed him to travel to Europe to study at the Munich Academy. Forsyth was formally accepted to the Academy in 1882. He studied drawing — first under Gyula Benczur and then Nikolaus Gysis. In 1883, Forsyth began painting classes with Ludwig Von Loefftz. After finishing his last year at the Academy in1886, Forsyth opened a studio in Munich with J. Otis Adams — another Indiana painter. Adams left for Indiana after only a year, but Forsyth stayed in Munich and finally returned to Indiana in late 1888. Upon his return, he opened an art school in Muncie with Adams. After two years, the school closed and Forsyth then joined the faculty with T.C. Steele at the Indiana School of Art.
Forsyth, Steele, Otis, along with Otto Stark and Richard Gruelle became known as the Hoosier Group. The group was influential in the Midwest and was one of the first regional art movements in the country. Forsyth also helped found the Society of Western Artists in 1896. Late the next year, Forsyth married one of his pupils, Alice Atkinson. She was 18 years his junior. The couple had three daughters. After the Indiana School of Art closed in 1897, Forsyth had a very long career teaching at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis from 1906 to 1933.
William Forsyth died of kidney failure in February 1934 at the age of 80.
ercy Gray was born in San Francisco, California. At 16 years of age, Gray enrolled in the California School of Design where he studied with Virgil Williams, Raymond D. Yelland and Emil Carlsen.
After graduation, Gray took a job as a quick sketch artist with the Morning Call, a major San Francisco newspaper. Gray honed his drawing skills as newspaper artists were eIn 1923, Gray married Leone Plumley Phelps, a 35 year old divorcee and moved to Monterey. The Gray’s bought the historic Casa Bonifacio Adobe. For the next 16 years, Gray painted the thriving Monterey area. During this time, he added etching to his repertoire and produced some fine works in that medium. In 1939, The Grays sold their home and moved to Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. In 1951, after his wife’s death, Gray moved to San Francisco to live at the Bohemian Club. He also rented a studio on Sutter Street near Union Square. Percy Gray died at his easel from a heart attack in October of 1952.xpected to sketch on site for the paper. Gray came to the attention of the illustrious William R. Hearst who hired the young artist to work for his newspaper, the New York Journal.
Gray spent 11 years with the New York Journal. While in New York, he studied with William Merritt Chase. Gray returned to his native California in 1906 to cover the devastation of the 1906 earthquake for the Hearst newspapers. Gray decided to remain in San Francisco working for the Examiner. Gray began to turn more of his attention to personal artwork and found a market for his watercolors depicting Northern California scenes. The public and critics alike responded to his realistic, yet romantic views of nature. Gray worked mostly as a Tonalist, preferring the muted tones of Barbizon Painting rather than the pure color of Impressionism. However, Gray occasionally worked in a brighter palette.
In 1923, Gray married Leone Plumley Phelps, a 35 year old divorcee and moved to Monterey. The Gray’s bought the historic Casa Bonifacio Adobe. For the next 16 years, Gray painted the thriving Monterey area. During this time, he added etching to his repertoire and produced some fine works in that medium. In 1939, The Grays sold their home and moved to Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. In 1951, after his wife’s death, Gray moved to San Francisco to live at the Bohemian Club. He also rented a studio on Sutter Street near Union Square. Percy Gray died at his easel from a heart attack in October of 1952.
Lovell Birge Harrison
Lovell Birge Harrison was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 28, 1854. “Birge”, as he called himself, received his initial training as an artist at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1876, Birge studied in France for four years under Carolus Duran, Jules Joseph Lefebver and Gustave Boulanger.
In the summer of 1880, Birge and his brother, Alexander, journeyed to Pont Aven and Concarneau on the Brittany Coast. In Concarneau, Birge became acquainted with Bastien Lepage. Lepage was a strong proponent of painting directly from nature and had a following among the academic art students of the time. Lepage painted in a way that was a marriage of academic fundamentals and Impressionist motifs. Birge became friends with Lepage and was influenced by his philosophy on painting and his working methods of painting from life.
In 1889, Birge received a Silver Medal for his painting, November, at the Universal Exposition in Paris. Birge became the first director of the Art Students League Summer School in Woodstock, New York. From 1905 to 1911, he taught painting classes there. Birge wrote articles on painting for Scribner’s Magazine, North American Review, International Studio and Palette and Brush Magazines. In 1909, he published his landmark book, Landscape Painting, which is still a major influence today. In 1910, he was voted into the prestigious National Academy of Fine Arts.
Birge is best known for his ethereal, Tonalist winter and moonlit scenes. His work is characterized by soft edges and strong design and beautifully subtle color harmonies. Birge remained a strong proponent of the Tonalist aesthetic his entire life. His teaching and writings influenced many generations of painters in America. Harrison died in Woodstock on May 11, 1929.
Frederick Childe Hassam was born on October 17, 1859 in Dorchester Massachusetts. His name (pronounced HASS um) is a corruption of the English surname Horsham. In his late teens, Hassam worked as a wood engraver. He later pursued illustration while attending the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts. In 1882, Hassam presented his first of many Solo Exhibitions. This show, which contained over 50 watercolors of New England landscape subjects, was held at Williams and Everett Gallery in Boston — one of the city’s oldest galleries. In 1883, Hassam made his first trip to Europe. On his return to Boston, Hassam held another show at the Williams and Everett Gallery with more than 60 watercolors from his travels.
Hassam was married in 1884 to Kathleen Maude Doane and the couple moved to Boston’s South End. It was here that Hassam began to paint the city motifs for which he would become famous. These early paintings, while not true impressionism in execution, shared the same concern for modern subject matter. The paintings show more consideration for subtle tonal variations than bright color.
Frederick Childe Hassam was born on October 17, 1859 in Dorchester Massachusetts. His name (pronounced HASS um) is a corruption of the English surname Horsham. In his late teens, Hassam worked as a wood engraver. He later pursued illustration while attending the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts. In 1882, Hassam presented his first of many Solo Exhibitions. This show, which contained over 50 watercolors of New England landscape subjects, was held at Williams and Everett Gallery in Boston — one of the city’s oldest galleries. In 1883, Hassam made his first trip to Europe. On his return to Boston, Hassam held another show at the Williams and Everett Gallery with more than 60 watercolors from his travels.
Hassam was married in 1884 to Kathleen Maude Doane and the couple moved to Boston’s South End. It was here that Hassam began to paint the city motifs for which he would become famous. These early paintings, while not true impressionism in execution, shared the same concern for modern subject matter. The paintings show more consideration for subtle tonal variations than bright color.
With the critical success of his paintings and a steady income from illustration, Hassam decided to go to Paris in 1886 for further study. He and his wife settled in Montmartre near Paris and Hassam enrolled in the Academie Julian where he studied under Jules LeFebvre. After a year and a half of study, Hassam was dissatisfied with the Academie. He turned his attention to exhibiting in Paris and displayed his work at the Paris salons of 1887 and 1888. Participating in the Exposition Universelle of 1889, he received a Bronze Medal. In 1889, Hassam and his wife returned to America. He was 30 years old.
Hassam and his wife moved to New York City. Hassam became active in many art organizations. He founded “The Ten” which included Willard Metcalf, William Merrit Chase and Frank Benson, among others. Although Hassam downplayed his European experience, it significantly affected his painting style. Hassam’s brushwork became more broken in application and his palette lightened.
Ernest Martin Hennings
E. Martin Hennings was born on February 5, 1886, in Penns Grove, New Jersey. Hennings enrolled in summer classes at the Art Institute of Chicago at the age of fifteen and became a fulltime student after finishing high school. Hennings graduated from the Art Institute with honors in 1904 and continued his studies at the school for two more years. After he finished school, Hennings worked in the Chicago area as an illustrator for six years. He ultimately found commercial art unsatisfying and sought further artistic study in Europe. In 1912, Hennings traveled to Munich to attend the Munich Academy. He studied under Franz von Stück, Angelo Junk and Walter Thor. He remained in Germany until the outbreak of World War I.
Hennings returned to Chicago and spent two more years as a commercial illustrator before deciding to pursue a career in fine art. One of Hennings patrons, Carter H. Harrison, a former Mayor of Chicago, convinced Hennings to travel to Taos, New Mexico, to paint for a season. The trip would be funded by Harrison and Oscar Mayer, the founder of the meat packing dynasty. Both men promised to buy the paintings Hennings created in New Mexico. Hennings friends, Victor Higgins and Walter Ufer had earlier traveled to Taos with Harrison’s help.
Hennings moved to Taos in 1921. In 1924, he was invited to join the Taos Society of Artists. In 1926, Hennings married Helen Otte. The newlyweds journeyed to Europe for sixteen months before returning to Taos in 1927. The Depression was hard on the Taos artists and Hennings worked for the WPA Mural Project.
Hennings won many awards during his career. His work was purchased for the permanent collections of numerous museums across the United States. His working habit was to paint his landscapes from life and then add figures to the painting later. He would return outdoors to design the placement of the figures and finish the details in the studio. His portraits were painted from life. Hennings powerful sense of design and strong drawing abilities helped to create striking canvases filled with intense color and light. His paintings show a fidelity to craftsmanship as well as artistic excellence.
Hennings died of a heart attack in Taos in 1956.
Aldro Thompson Hibbard
Aldro Thomson Hibbard was born on August 25, 1886 in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Hibbard was a remarkably gifted baseball player during high school and was asked to join pro teams. He chose to sacrifice sports to become an artist.
Hibbard studied at the Massachusetts Normal Art School (1909) and the Massachusetts College of Art. He further studied with Edmund C. Tarbell, Frank W. Benson, Leslie P. Thompson, Joseph R. DeCamp and Philip Hale at Boston’s Museum School. He graduated in 1913. Hibbard was awarded the $3,000 Paige Traveling Scholarship. After graduation, Hibbard chose to study in Europe and spent fourteen months in England, Spain, France and Italy. Hibbard had planned to stay for two years, but the outbreak of World War I forced him to return to the United States.
In 1915, Hibbard became an instructor of painting at Boston University. He painted winter scenes of New England — especially in Jamaica, Vermont where he acquired a home. He was drawn to the rugged winters there. These winter scenes were where Hibbard excelled as an artist and they garnered him many awards throughout his career.
In 1919, Hibbard made trips to Rockport — 35 miles north of Boston. His first studio in Rockport was an old livery stable and it soon became a meeting place for many artists. The informal meetings turned into the beginnings of the Rockport Art Association. Hibbard was a founding member and also served as its President from 1937 to 1943. He also established the Summer School of Drawing and Painting (1921-1928), which later became The Hibbard School of Painting. In 1925, Hibbard married Winifred Jackman, a former student. The two purchased a home in Rockport. This home served as Hibbard’s gallery and studio until his death in 1972.
Winslow Homer was born on February 24, 1836 in Boston and raised in nearby Cambridge. At nineteen, Homer was apprenticed to a lithographic shop. He found the job monotonous, so at twenty-one, Homer left to launch himself into a career as a freelance illustrator.
Although self-taught, Homer excelled in drawing. After moving to New York City Harpers Weekly, the most prominent American Magazine at the time, hired the young artist as an illustrator. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Harpers Weekly sent Homer to the Virginia front. Instead of depictions of battles, Homer focused on the daily life of the troops. His honest portrayal of the soldiers has become one of the best historical records of how they dressed and lived.
Illustration did not artistically satisfy Homer for long. Soon after the end of the war, he began to seriously pursue painting as his main source of income. Homer took lessons from Frederick Rondel, a Boston genre painter. After a month of the most basic training, Homer completed his instruction, bought some oil painting supplies and ventured into the outdoors to paint directly, observe and learn from nature.
Homer’s earliest paintings are genre scenes of American rural life. The unique quality of these scenes is found in Homer’s ability to paint the motif simply and directly with an eye for light and color. His fidelity to painting from life obviously enhanced this facility.
Homer lived a dual life as illustrator and artist until he was almost forty. Then at the height of his illustration career — he stopped. Homer turned his full attention to oil and watercolors. He continued to work from nature and develop his technical skill. Homer’s work simplified and became even more powerful. His watercolors show an ability and sureness of handling that few artists ever realize. Most of these pieces were painted outside of Maine and many were painted during his winter travels away from his studio.
In 1883, Homer moved from New York City to Maine and built a studio on Prout’s Neck. This was his home for the rest of his life. In 1910, Winslow Homer died in his studio at the age of 74.
Peder Severin Kroyer
Peder Severin Kroyer was born in Stavanger, Norway on Midsummer Eve, 1851. Midsummer Day traditionally is recognized as June 24th — the Feast of John the Baptist. His mother suffered from manic depression and was unable to care for little Peder. He was raised by his mother’s sister and husband.
Peder attended the Academy in Copenhagen, receiving a Gold Medal for painting upon graduation. He was twenty-two. His first trip abroad was in 1875, traveling first to the Swiss Alps and then to Germany.
In 1877, Peder entered Leon Bonnat’s class in Paris. In this class, Peder learned to simplify his painting technique, going for the big overall effect. This was contrary to his former training, which focused on modeling each form, one at a time. While studying with Bonnat, he made trips in the summers to other parts of Europe, visiting Brittany, Spain and Italy.
In 1881, Peder returned to Copenhagen and opened a studio. In 1882, he visited the artist colony at Skagen — a remote fishing village in Northern Denmark. He painted genre scenes of the villagers during the summers and returned to Copenhagen, painting formal portrait commissions in the winters.
In the 1880’s, Peder was influenced by the Impressionists and his palette became lighter and more colorful. His open air genre scenes garnered him much praise and attention and he received many portrait commissions. In 1889, he married Marie Triepcke. Peder began suffering severe bouts of depression, hospitalizing him for months at a time. He had inherited the same mental instability that had afflicted his mother. In 1905, his marriage fell apart.
The last ten years of his life, Peder’s eyesight deteriorated until he was completely blind. Even though he was in poor health, he painted almost to the end of his life. Peder Kroyer died in 1909 at the age of 58.
Wilhelm Kuhnert was born in Germany on September 28, 1865. At the age of seventeen, he traveled to Berlin to stay with relatives and enroll at the Royal Academy of Berlin. While at the Academy, he studied Animal Painting under Paul Meyerheim and Landscape Painting under Ferdinand Bellerman. Although considerable attention was paid to studying anatomy, the students would sketch captive animals in a zoo and then make formal paintings in their studio — making up the environments from the artists’ imagination. Kuhnert decided to change this. After seeing some African animals at a fair, the young artist vowed to travel to Africa and paint animals in their native habitat.
Upon leaving the Royal Academy, he acquired a studio in Berlin. While Kuhnert was sketching at the Berlin Zoo, he was introduced to Hans Meyer, the first European to climb Kilimanjaro. Meyer was impressed with Kuhnert’s ability and promised the young artist the chance to illustrate his next book. Kuhnert told Meyer of his goal of traveling to Africa to paint the animals in their natural settings. Meyer suggested he travel to East Africa and even gave Kuhnert his safari equipment.
Good to his word, Meyer commissioned Kuhnert to illustrate Brehms Tierbuilder, a dictionary of animals from around the world. With the proceeds from the book, Kuhnert traveled to Africa in 1891.
At that time, the East African Colony was a vast, unexplored territory for most Germans. Kuhnert traveled the only way available — accompanied by a score of men to act as guides and carry the hundreds of pounds of gear and supplies needed for such a journey. A year later, he returned to Germany with dozens of paintings, sketches and drawings of the African animals, people and places.
In 1893, Kuhnert’s paintings went on display at the Berliner Art Exhibition and he took the Medal of Honor. The public responded to his truthful depictions of the great continent. At only 28 years of age, Kuhnert’s success seemed assured.
He married in 1894 and moved to a larger studio. The attraction of Africa could not keep him home, so in 1905, he left his wife and daughter and returned to what he called “The Promised Land”. After a year on the continent, rather than returning home, he traveled to Ceylon. Unable to stand his long absences, his wife left him in 1907. Kuhnert finally returned to Germany in 1908.
He returned to Africa once more in 1911. Two years later, he remarried. In 1920, Kuhnert published two books on African Wildlife — “Im Lande Meiner Modelle” (in the Land of My Model) and “Mein Tierre” (My Animals). He died February 11, 1926 at the age of 60 — five months after his second wife had passed away.
It is believed Kuhnert’s body of work totaled 5,500 paintings — primarily animals, but also portraits and landscapes. Today, there are less than a thousand known works in existence. The rest of his paintings were destroyed or lost in World War II.
Sidney Mortimer Laurence was born on October 14, 1865 in Brooklyn, New York. There are few confirmed facts about his childhood and early adult life; it is believed he studied painting with Thomas Moran’s brother, the marine artist, Edward Moran.
In 1888, Laurence studied antique drawing at the Art Students League of New York. In 1889, he married the artist, Alexandrina Fredericka Dupre. The couple moved to England. Their first home was in the St. Ives Artist Colony on the Cornwall coast.
Laurence became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in England and the Salmagundi Club in New York. Laurence was an artist correspondent and produced illustrations of the Zulu War for Black and White Magazine in London and images of the Spanish American War for the New York Herald.
In 1904, Laurence left his wife and two sons in England to become a prospector for gold in Alaska. During the next ten years, he continued to prospect and paint. Eventually, painting won out and by 1923 he began painting fulltime. Laurence opened a studio in Los Angeles. In 1926, Carl Block, an Illinois store owner, asked Laurence to provide him with as many paintings of Alaska as Laurence could produce. With the success of his painting sales, Laurence split his time between Anchorage, Seattle and Los Angeles.
Laurence was not the first artist to paint Alaska, although his work stood out among others because he actually lived in Alaska. He was not just a tourist, as were other artists like Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Hill. Primarily a marine and landscape painter, Laurence had the ability to capture the grand scale of the Alaskan Wilderness. In his paintings, the human elements seem fragile, their hold on the environment temporary and insignificant. He used old European motifs and applied them to the Alaskan backcountry, creating an art that was his own.
Sidney Laurence died in Anchorage, Alaska in 1940 at the age of 75.
Jules Bastien Lepage
Jules Bastien Lepage was born in the village of Damvillers, Meuse, France, on the 1st of November 1848. He spent most of his childhood there. Bastien quickly showed a facility for draftsmanship and was encouraged by his family to pursue a career as an artist.
Bastien first studied art at Verdun in 1867 and then in 1869 traveled to Paris. He was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-arts, working under Alexandre Cabanel. In 1874, Bastien exhibited “Portrait of my Grandfather,” and received a Third Class Medal. The next year, he received a Second Class Medal in the Prix De Rome Competition. In 1879, he received the Legion of Honor Cross for his painting of Sarah Bernhardt. He briefly spent time at the Art Colony in the village of Grez-sur-Loing. By 1883, Bastien led the Naturalist Movement and overwhelmed the art world. Tragically, Bastien Lepage died a year later at the young age of thirty-six from a virulent form of stomach cancer. He was at the pinnacle of his career.
From the beginning, Bastien received favorable reviews from art critics and a devout following from the younger painters in France. Their enthusiasm bordered on Religious fervor. Bastien was constantly covered in the local press and was a major influence on the outdoor movement that spread throughout Europe and America. His naturalistic portrayals of peasants and rural life were seen as a fresh alternative to the academic paintings in the salons at the time. Unlike the Impressionists, Bastien did not completely abandon his technical facility for an alla prima approach. Instead, he created his paintings over a period of weeks in glass studios under natural light. His large paintings were a combination of almost photo-like realism and extensive areas of the canvas merely suggesting detail. The effect was unique and powerful.
During the late 1870’s, Bastien’s stature as a painter eclipsed even the Impressionists. It was not just his technique that garnered him praise from artists and critics alike; it was his philosophy about painting. Bastien believed in painting what the artist knows — letting nature’s truths guide their work. His paintings were an unromantic view of rural life depicted in a way in which people could relate.
Bastien’s early death served to raise his status to generations of younger artists who had been influenced by his truthful teaching and philosophy.
Isaac Levitan’s art represented the culmination of Russian Landscape painting of the 19th century. His paintings go beyond depicting objective representations of nature; they are suffused with profound philosophical and social significance.
Isaac Levitan was born in 1860 in Kybartai, Russia (now Lithuania). His father moved the family to Moscow in the early 1870’s to seek greater fame and fortune. Isaacs’s mother and father died while he was attending the Moscow College of Painting. Only seventeen, Levitan became homeless. He stayed with friends and family and even slept in the empty classrooms of the college. His tuition was waived because of undue hardship.
Isaac’s teachers, Vasily Polenov and Alexei Sarasov, stressed the importance of working outdoors. Sarasov taught his students to “seek out in the most ordinary and commonplace phenomena the intimate, the infinitely touching and often melancholy features which are strongly felt in our native scenery and which evoke an overwhelming response in our soul.” This was a philosophy that the young Levitan would adopt in his own painting.
It was his ability to evoke the subtlest emotions in his landscapes that helped Levitan to convey the Russian landscape as no one else did. He is often associated with Russian Impressionism. Although he painted in an Impressionist manner, Levitan cannot be defined by this technique alone. It is this aspect that elevates his art from French Impressionism. The French school sought only to convey the fleeting effects of light and contemporary life without any deeper meaning.
Isaac Levitan was a friend of the writer, Anton Chekhov. Both men shared and nurtured a common view of nature and mankind’s place in it. They both used nature as a metaphor for human emotions in their art. It is an art of the psychological landscape; the landscape of mood and it has influenced generations of artists that have followed him.
In 1897, Levitan was diagnosed with a heart condition. Three years later, he died at the young age of forty.
Harriet Randall Lumis
Harriet Randall was born on May 29, 1870, in Salem Connecticut. After the Civil War, Salem was a small and prosperous farming community. Harriet attended school and showed an interest in the various arts, including music, drawing and dance.
In 1892, at the age of 22, Harriet married Fred Lumis, a 29 year old architect. The couple moved to Springfield, Connecticut. It was here Harriet pursued formal art education. The couple enrolled in the Evening Free Hand Drawing School through the Springfield public education system. Harriet continued her instruction with Leonard Ochtman.
In 1910, Fred Lumis was appointed City Building Commissioner in Springfield. The new position allowed the Lumis’s to buy a house and build Harriet a studio. She became active in many regional art clubs and entered her work in numerous exhibitions.
At the age of 50, Harriet enrolled in the Breckenridge School of Art and studied there for three years. Under Hugh Breckenridge, Harriet’s work became less restrictive and more colorful — adopting a more impressionistic style. Her work employed broken color and vigorous brushwork.
In 1937, her husband died after an operation at the age of 76. Harriet was left with no income except her painting sales which were not enough to provide for her. Teaching became her best solution. Harriet held classes outdoors and at her studio for the rest of her life.
An outspoken opponent of the new painting styles predominant at the time, Harriet never chased the trends of Modernism. In 1949, with a group of like-minded artists, she formed the Academic Artists Association. The purpose of the group was to “encourage the showing of realistic works of art in local museums and promote the interests of artists who work in a realistic manner”.
The last years of her life, Harriet continued to paint and teach, spending much of the time in her formal gardens that surrounded her studio. She died in 1953 at the age of 82.
Willard L. Metcalf
Willard L. Metcalf was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1858. He began his art studies at the Lowell Institute and apprenticed to the painter, George Loring Brown. For the next few years, Metcalf illustrated articles on the Zuni and the Southwest for Century Magazine.
In 1883, with enough money earned from his illustration assignments, Metcalf traveled to France to study at the Julian Academie under Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. After a few years in France, Metcalf slowly moved away from the painting style being taught in the Academie. He now embraced the Impressionist ideal that revered painting from life as the core of good painting. In 1888, Metcalf returned to America and prepared to mount a one-man show of 44 paintings — mostly studies executed in the open air style he adopted in Europe. While the show was praised critically, sales were low and Metcalf decided to leave Boston for New York.
In New York, Metcalf continued work as an illustrator and in order to provide a steady income, took portrait commissions. In addition, Metcalf taught at the Art Students League and Coopers Union.
In 1896, Metcalf won the Webb Prize from the Society of American Artist’s show. It was his last time exhibiting with this organization. Metcalf and his artist friends were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the crowded settings and selection standards of the organization. They felt the standards had dropped too low and were compromised. Metcalf and other notable artists resigned and formed, “The Ten American Painters”. “The Ten”, as they were referred to by the press, were Childe Hassam, John Twatchman, Willard Metcalf, Frank Benson, J Alden Weir, Thomas Dewing, Robert Reid, Edward Simmons, Edmund Tarbell, and Joseph De Camp. In 1905, William Merritt Chase was asked to join the group, replacing the now deceased, Twatchman. They were the embodiment of the American Impressionist movement. “The Ten” held yearly exhibitions until 1919.
Metcalf struggled for continued financial and critical success for most of his life. It wasn’t until late in his career that his unique vision of the New England countryside took hold with critics and profited him financially. Metcalf’s perception was thoroughly American and was appreciated for its naturalism.
Metcalf’s success as a painter lies in his ability to depict the landscape with honesty and fidelity. His New England scenes are an intimate glimpse of a totally American ideal. He stayed true to his artistic beliefs in a time when proponents of modernism sought to marginalize established forms of style. This focus helped him create a personal style whose roots were founded in the tenets of American Impressionism that lasts to this day.
Willard Metcalf died in 1925.
Thomas Moran was born in 1837 in Bolton, England — the fifth of seven children. His father was a handloom weaver. The industrial revolution motivated the family to move to the United States to escape unemployment and poverty. The Moran family settled in Kensington, near Philadelphia. Thomas Moran’s older brother, Edward, was the first to pursue art and become a successful marine painter. Young Thomas never had any formal training but was influenced by his older brother and his brother’s studio mate, John Hamilton. Thomas began frequenting his brother’s studio by 1855 and accompanied him on sketching trips. In 1862, the brothers returned to England to study the works of J.W.M. Turner. Thomas made copies of the paintings he saw at the National Gallery, trying to replicate the color and luminosity of Turner.
When Thomas returned to America, he found work as both a fine artist and a commercial illustrator. In 1871, at the request of Scribner’s Magazine, he was to redraw an amateur’s sketches of a trip to the Yellowstone region in Wyoming. Based on the unusual terrain in the sketches, Thomas decided to visit Yellowstone for himself. He borrowed money so he could accompany a survey party that was returning to the area later that year. The trip so inspired the young artist that he dedicated his life to the depiction of the American West.
Thomas Moran never painted with oils while traveling; instead he preferred to make sketches in watercolor, gouache and pencil and later translate these into his great pictures. He was not interested in recording nature literally. For Thomas, the truth was in his impression of the place. He used all means at his disposal to heighten the effect he was after.
It is believed that Thomas Moran’s paintings helped to secure Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon as National Parks. His paintings, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Chasm of the Colorado and Mountain of the Holy Cross became icons of the American Landscape.
At the turn of the century, Thomas Moran was attacked for being outdated. However, Moran’s paintings never fell out of favor with the public. He enjoyed continued artistic success until his death at the age of ninety.
Frederick Mulhaupt was born in Rockport, Missouri on March 28th, 1871. As a boy, he operated a newspaper stand in Dodge City, Kansas. After moving to Kansas City, Missouri, he apprenticed to a sign painter and studied at the Kansas City School of Design. His interest in art brought him to Chicago to study at the Art Institute there. Mulhaupt was one of the founding members of the Palette and Chisel Club in Chicago. The Club was organized so evening students from the Institute who worked during the week could paint the figure during the day on weekends. Mulhaupt became an instructor at the institute in 1902, teaching figure classes.
In 1904, Mulhaupt moved to New York to further his career. From there, he traveled to Paris and lived there for several years and continued his artistic training. While in Paris, he traveled to St. Ives in Cornwall, England. It may have been there that Mulhaupt became interested in depictions of harbor scenes and the working life of the fishermen.
On his return to the United States, Mulhaupt again settled in New York. Beginning in 1907, he summered in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was in Gloucester that Mulhaupt’s powers as an artist came into full bloom. After marrying Agnes Kingsley in 1921, they moved to Gloucester the following year and remained there fulltime.
Mulhaupt’s depictions of Cape Ann and the surrounding area offered an endless opportunity for the painter. His depictions of the working harbor of Gloucester brought Mulhaupt much recognition. He was a member of the Salmagundi Club in New York and was voted to the National Academy of Design in 1926. He was a founding member of the North Shore Art Association and exhibited in the shows every year from 1923 until his death in 1938. Mulhaupt died at his easel of a heart attack.
Sir Alfred James Munnings
Alfred James Munnings was born in England on October 8, 1878. He was the second son of John Munnings, a miller. Munnings left school at the age of 14 for a six-year apprenticeship with a firm of lithographers in Norwich. By day he excelled as a lithographic draughtsman. He studied painting at night. Although Munnings was offered a job after finishing his lithographers’ apprenticeship, he turned it down. Instead, he bought a carpenters shop and converted it into an artist studio. He supported himself through freelance poster work and the occasional sale of paintings. Within months of this decision, he tragically lost his right eye in an accident. However, the loss did not affect his determination to paint. In his autobiography, Munnings wrote of his difficulties. “I wasn’t allowed to use my right eye for months and when I went to paint my brush either hit the canvas before I knew it was there or was not touching it. Mostly it was the latter and I found myself making strokes in the air nearer and nearer until I touched the painted surface…”
Munnings would travel with his man, Bob, a gypsy boy called Shrimp and seven or eight horses, ponies, a donkey, a blue painted caravan and a cart for his painting materials — all would be his models. They would travel until suitable country was found and then spend weeks painting in the open air.
In 1918, Munnings became an official war artist with the Canadian Calvary Brigade. His painting of General Jack Seely on his horse became a turning point in Munnings career. Munnings was able to skillfully capture both the rider’s portrait as well as the horse. This led to many commissions and broughthim money and fame.
In 1920, Munnings married Violet McBride. Violet was confident of her husband’s greatness as an artist and tended to all his business matters and promotion.
Robert Emmett Owen
Robert Emmett Owen was born in North Adams, Massachusetts in 1878. He was raised by his single mother. His father had left before Owen was born. Owen showed an interest in art from an early age, drawing and painting in watercolor. He dropped out of High School to financially help his mother by working in a local stationary store.
In 1897, a store customer sent some of Owens drawings to Life Magazine. The pictures were published, thus starting his illustration career. The next year, Owen won a scholarship to The Eric Pape School of Art in Boston. He attended classes for two years, supporting himself as a comic strip artist and illustrator for the Boston Globe. He later moved to New York, determined to work as an illustrator. Over the next ten years, Owen illustrated for most of the successful publications in the country, including Scribner, Century Publishing, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Life Magazine. Owen specialized in landscapes and architecture in pen and ink.
Owen married in 1903 and by 1910 had saved enough money to begin his career as a landscape painter. That year, he moved to Bagnall near Stamford, Connecticut. Owen began associating with Frederick Mulhaupt and studying with Leonard Ochtman. Owen joined the Greenwich Society of Artists and was a member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1919, a series of commissions gave him the means to return to New York where he once again worked as an illustrator. In 1923, he opened a gallery devoted to his landscapes in New York. He moved to larger spaces two times to accommodate his success. Owen’s patrons included some of the Rockefeller family and wealthy politicians. His New England landscapes were praised for their rugged truth.
Owen owned a gallery until 1941. After the start of World War II, he closed it and moved to New Rochelle, New York. He became Artist in Residence at the Thomas Paine Memorial Museum. Robert Emmett Owen died in New Rochelle in 1957.
Edgar Alwin Payne
Edgar Payne was born in Missouri in 1883. His parents were farmers. Payne’s early life was spent working on the family farm. At the age of twenty, he left home and spent a few years doing odd jobs in order to survive. In 1905, he moved to Houston with two of his sisters and earned his living painting houses. His interest in art led him to open a Scene Painting studio in Dallas. By 1907, Payne moved to Chicago. For a brief period, he took classes at the Chicago Art Institute. He continued to make his living from Scene Painting and began selling his work at the Palette and Chisel Club.
Edgar Payne’s first trip to California was in 1909. It was here that he met his future wife, Elsie Palmer. They married in 1912. By that time, Payne was receiving much more attention for his Easel Work than his Scene Painting business. He gave a show of 65 paintings at the Palette and Chisel Club in May of 1913…selling every painting!
The Payne’s moved to Laguna Beach, California in 1917. It was from Laguna Beach that Payne began his many painting trips to the Sierras and the Southwest. In 1922, he traveled to Europe for two years with his family. Payne painted many pictures of fishing life and mountain scenes while there.
It was Payne’s habit to paint numerous sketches on location and from these, create larger finished works in his studio. It was because of this practice that his paintings tend to have a compositionally repetitive look. This is especially true of his Sierra scenes.
His book on painting, “Composition of Outdoor Painting”, is still in print today because of its no nonsense approach to the craft of painting. Edgar Payne died in 1947 after a long battle with cancer.
Jane Peterson was born “Jennie Christine Peterson” in Elgin, Illinois in 1876. She began her formal art studies at the Pratt Institute of New York City under Arthur Wesley Dow. Before her 1901 graduation, Peterson taught classes in painting at the Institute. She next studied with Frank Vincent DuMond in Boston. She saved enough money to travel abroad to continue her schooling. Overseas, Peterson studied first with Frank Brangwyn in London and then Joaquin Sorolla in Madrid. Peterson’s return to the United States was recognized with shows in 1909 in both Boston and New York.
Peterson taught at the Art Students League of New York between 1913 and 1919. Peterson painted with John Singer Sargent, Maurice Prendergast, Childe Hassam, Joaquin Sorolla and Louis Comfort Tiffany. She painted in Europe, Turkey and Africa.
Peterson was recognized for masterfully blending her academic training with impressionist and post impressionist styles. She had a strong sense of design and a bright palette. Her brushwork was bold and confident.
After marrying in 1925, Peterson devoted most of her time to painting floral subjects. The artist painted in her beautiful gardens at her estate in Ipswich, New York. In 1946, she wrote a how-to book on painting flowers — “Flower Painting.”
In her lifetime, Jane Peterson had over 80 one person shows. She was a Fellow at the prestigious National Academy of Design and a member of many art organizations, including The American Watercolor Society, The Allied Artists of America, The National Association of Women Artists and the Pen and Brush Club.
Jane Peterson died at an old age in 1965.
During his lifetime, Edward Redfield was second only to John Singer Sargent for receiving medals honoring an American painter. Of Quaker heritage, Edward Redfield was born in Delaware in 1869. His father ran a successful nursery. In 1885 to 1889, Redfield studied at the Pennsylvania Academy under Thomas Anschutz. With a monthly allowance from his family, he left home to continue his studies in Paris at the Academie Julian, under William Bouguereau. In France, Redfield lived at the Hotel Deligant in Brolles, just outside of Paris. It was here that he met and married the innkeeper’s daughter, Elise Deligant. Returning to the United States in 1893, Elise and Edward moved in with his family. In 1898, they purchased land in Center Bridge, a small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Edward Redfield lived there for the remainder of his life.
Redfield’s Bravura Style of painting and his fidelity to the alla prima approach separates him from other painters of his time. Redfield regularly finished 50” x 56” canvases outdoors “in one shot”…describing his process. He painted outdoors, regardless of the weather, producing some of the finest snow scenes ever painted. Redfield was exclusively dedicated to painting directly from nature. He destroyed any piece that did not live up to his exacting standards, sometimes destroying fifty or more paintings at a time. He was one of the founding members of the New Hope School of Painting, which focused on intimate regional scenes of America in Bucks County.
In 1948, a year after his wife passed away, Edward Redfield painted his last picture. Instead of continuing to paint with failing health and eyesight, he stopped painting entirely. Redfield realized that he no longer could produce the high quality of painting he demanded from himself. Edward Redfield died on October 19, 1965, at the age of 96.
Grenville Richard Seymour Redmond was born on March 9, 1871 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He later changed his name to “Granville Redmond” when he began his professional career.
Granville became deaf when he contracted scarlet fever at the age of 2 ½ years and he never again gained the ability to speak. His family moved to San Jose, California when Granville was four. Granville boarded at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, California from the time he was 8 until he graduated at 19. Upon his graduation, Superintendent Warring Wilkinson convinced the Board of Directors at the school, in recognition of Granville’s artistic and academic achievements, to pay his tuition to the California School of Design and let him continue to board at the California School for the Deaf.
Granville received the W.E.B. Award for Life Drawing in his second year at the school. The award gave him free tuition for a third year at the school. At the end of his term at the California School of Design, Granville had few prospects and knew he needed to continue his education. Once again, the Superintendent for the California School for the Deaf intervened and on Wilkinson’s recommendation, Granville was granted a two year loan by the Board of Directors to study in Paris.
Granville studied at the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul-Laurens. After three years of study in Paris and only moderate success, Granville returned to the United States in 1898, settling in Los Angeles. He opened a studio and began painting and creating illustrations for magazines.
In 1899, Granville married Carrie Annabelle Jean. The couple had three children. In 1910, the Redmond’s moved to Menlo Park, just south of San Francisco. In 1916, the family moved again to Belvedere in Marin County on the San Francisco Bay. World War I started, Granville’s sales dropped and he obtained work as a silent actor signing on with Charlie Chaplin’s studio in Marin County. He continued both professions for the rest of his life.
As his success as a landscape painter grew, Granville focused his subject matter on the California coastal range from Marin County in the North to Laguna Beach and Catalina Island in the South. His style ranged from Tonalism, (an almost monochromatic look), to a bright Impressionist palette with broken color. Granville Redmond died of heart failure on May 24, 1935 at the age of 65.
Theodore Robinson was born in Wisconsin in 1852. At his mother’s encouragement, he enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. His schooling was cut short by chronic asthma, which was aggravated by Chicago’s cold weather. Robinson returned home until he could save enough money for his education. In 1874, he enrolled in the National Academy of Design in New York City.
In 1875, Robinson, a teacher and other students at the academy formed “The Art Students League of New York”. Robinson split his studies between the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. In 1876, Robinson traveled to Paris to study with Carolus Duran. For reasons that are not clear, Robinson found Duran’s teaching unsatisfactory.
Robinson began to study with Jean Leon Gerome, a popular teacher of American students. Gerome was the foremost proponent of the Academic style. Gerome’s classes focused on accurately portraying the figure. An excellent student, Robinson was honored by having a portrait accepted into the annual Paris Salon. Robinson took some time off from his studies to join his friends in Grez, a small village outside the forest of Fontainebleau. In Grez, the students painted from life. It was here that Robinson became fascinated with the Impressionist idea of recording modern experience painted from life.
Robinson returned to New York in 1879. A few years later, he took a job teaching and creating mural projects for a decorating company. In 1884, Robinson traveled to Giverny. He met Monet and forged a friendship that lasted the rest of his life. For the rest of his life, Robinson split his time between Europe and America.
In France, Robinson began melding his formal training with the new ideas of Impressionism. He developed his own, personal style of Impressionism. In 1890, he was awarded the Web Prize at the Society of American Artists Show for his painting, “Winter Landscape”. It was the first Impressionist painting to ever receive the award. Robinson refined his technique over the next few years, garnering acclaim and awards in America. Tragically, at only 43 years of age, Robinson died after succumbing to his plaguing asthma.
Guy Rose was born in San Gabriel, California on March 3, 1867, the seventh of eleven children. He was the son of J. L. Rose, a former senator and large Southern California landholder and rancher. When Guy was a young boy, he was shot in the jaw in a hunting accident. While he was recuperating, he developed an affinity for drawing.
Guy Rose moved to San Francisco after high school. In San Francisco, Rose began his formal art training at the School of Design under Virgil Williams and Emil Carlson. In 1888, he studied in Paris at the Academie Julian under Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant, Jules Lefebvre and Jean Paul Laurens. In 1894, Rose received an honorable mention at the Paris Salon — the first California painter to do so.
In 1989, Rose took time from his studio salon paintings to travel in the countryside and paint outdoors, making trips north of Paris to Crecy-en-brie and Giverny. It was in Giverny that Rose came into contact with Monet and the circle of artists that had grown around the famous French painter. The trip was to have a lasting effect on Rose’s style. The artist slowly embraced Impressionism with its looser brushwork and brighter color.
Returning to New York City in the mid-1890s, Rose taught at the Pratt Institute and created illustrations for such magazines as Harper’s, Scribner and Century. Rose had suffered with periods of sickness for years and was diagnosed with lead poisoning. His symptoms included swollen hands, loss of vision, debilitating abdominal pain and paralysis. The effects limited his ability to paint — sometimes for years.
In 1899, Rose traveled back to France and bought a cottage in Giverny. His disease in remission, Rose resumed his painting and produced many fine canvases in the Impressionist style.
In 1912, Rose returned to New York. Two years later, he made his final move to Pasadena. He taught art, and then later served as Director of the Stickney School of Art. He painted scenes of the Sierras and Laguna Beach, having successful one man shows in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Beginning in 1918, Rose took painting trips to Carmel. In 1921, he suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed. Rose died on Nov. 17, 1925, at the early age of 58.
Carl Rungius was primarily known as a painter of big game. His fidelity to painting directly from life cannot be ignored and puts him at the top of the list as an outdoor painter. His depictions of the Canadian Rockies have not been surpassed to this day.
Carl Rungius was born in Germany in 1869. From an early age, he was determined to become an artist. His father, a pastor, wanted him to become a minister, but the young Carl refused and his father eventually relented. He studied at the Berlin Art Academy. Carl was enrolled in design and figure classes but found time to sketch at the zoo. Eventually, he assembled a portfolio of animal drawings and submitted them to Paul Mayerheim, the professor of animal drawing and painting at the Academy.
After studying at the academy, Carl stayed with his parents. His prospects for a successful career in art seemed slim until he was invited to visit his uncle in America. The trip would change Rungius’s life forever. At a sportsman show in New York, Carl met Ira Dodge, a Wyoming guide. Dodge invited Carl to come to Wyoming to experience American big game, first hand. This invitation was the opportunity the young painter needed. He would often make studies from the animals he shot — posing them with ropes back in his camp.
John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent was born on the 12th of January 1856 in Florence Italy. His parents had left America to live in Europe. Because the family constantly traveled, Sargent developed few ties to any one country. He spoke four languages, played the piano and mandolin expertly, and held a great knowledge of literature and art.
Sargent enrolled in the Atelier of Carolus Duran when he was 18 years old. Duran’s approach to painting was to stress accurate values combined with free and rapid brushwork, Au Premier Coup. Sargent quickly rose to the top of his class. His bravura style and naturalist subject matter was well received by critics. Sargent painted with Monet; however, he was never an Impressionist. He was too grounded in academic training to relinquish good drawing and strong value plans for color alone.
In the beginning of his career, Sargent painted society portraits. He created a scandal when he painted a famous society woman in a risky pose with one strap of her dress fallen off her shoulder. The now famous portrait of Madame X seems tame by today’s standards of taste. At that time period, the painting caused such a stir that Sargent was forced to flee Paris for London.
As a portrait painter, Sargent had no equal. His ability to render the subtlest expressions kept him busy throughout his career. His seemingly effortless brushwork garnered him praise and criticism. Sergent’s most vocal critics claimed he had too much facility and no content in his work.
At the peak of his success in 1907, Sargent abandoned painting portraits. His interest in his mural projects and landscape paintings replaced his need for commissioned work. Sergent’s successes provided sufficient income to stick to his principles…except in a few rare occasions. Sargent’s landscape and figure paintings are a tour de force of bravura painting. His watercolors of Venetian scenes are especially fine examples of this style.
John Singer Sargent died in 1925 at the age of sixty.
Edward Brian Seago was born in Norwich, England. A heart condition caused him to be homeschooled and spend a considerable amount of time at rest. It was his mother, an amateur watercolorist, who encouraged Seago to paint. Although primarily self-taught, Seago received some instruction from Bertram Priestman. As a young man, Seago lived a dual life — spending time with the circus performers and gypsies and accepting patronage from prominent society. It was his connection to society that helped Seago achieve the financial success he deserved. His affiliations with prominent art dealers, especially Tom Baskett of P. and D. Colnaghi Galleries, gave Seago the steady promotion of his work, which was lacking in the prewar years. Following the war, the gallery had solo shows of Seago’s works, alternating annually with his watercolors and oils.
At a time when most artists chased so-called “modern art principals”, Seago tenaciously clung to his own idea of painting. Ignored by critics and the art establishment of the time, the public increasingly embraced his honest depictions of East Anglia and his travels abroad. Seago’s influence can be seen in a new group of British painters, including Trevor Chamberlain, Ron Ranson, and David Curtis.
Joseph Henry Sharp
Joseph Henry Sharp was born in Bridgeport, Ohio in 1859. His father was a merchant. His mother encouraged young Sharp’s study of art, music and literature. Sharp lost his hearing due to a swimming accident at the age of 12 — the same year his family had fallen on hard times. Henry dropped out of school and went to work in a nail factory to help his family financially. At the age of 14, he was accepted in the McKicken School of Design at the University of Cincinnati. Sharp lived with relatives in order to attend the University. Beginning in 1881, Sharp continued his studies in Europe at the Antwerp Academy where he stayed for two years. When he returned from Europe, Sharp opened a studio in Cincinnati in the same building as the artist, Henry Farny. Sharps portrait commissions gave him enough money to travel west to follow his lifelong ambition to study and paint Native Americans.
Sharp visited Taos, New Mexico, in 1893, working for Harpers Weekly. Sharp returned to Europe for further art instruction. He traveled to Paris and enrolled in the Academie Julian where he studied for two years. There, he met Bert Phillips and Ernest Blumenschein — the two artists who would later become the founders of the Taos Art Colony. Sharp returned to America and taught in Cincinnati. Later, he spent time in Montana, living near the battlefield of Little Big Horn where he painted portraits of the Plains Indians.
In 1901, Phoebe Hearst, mother of William Randal Hearst, saw some of Sharp’s Native American portraits in the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. She purchased all of Sharp’s pictures in the show and more from his studio. She also agreed to purchase 15 paintings a year, for the next five years. As a result, Sharp resigned from his teaching post and split his time between Montana in the winter and Taos in the summer — painting landscapes and genre scenes and portraits of Native Americans.
After 1910, Sharp kept a studio in Pasadena, California and lived in Taos. Sharp became a charter member of the Taos Society of Artists. He worked and exhibited with the group for many years.
Joseph Henry Sharp’s love of Native Americans is depicted in his paintings. He did not act as just an artist, but was a friend and advocate of the people he painted. He recorded Native American life in an intimate, honest and heartfelt way. Joseph Henry Sharp passed away in his sleep in Pasadena, August 29, 1953.
Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
Sorolla was born in 1863 in Valencia, Spain. At two years of age, his parents died in a cholera outbreak that left him orphaned. His aunt and uncle raised him. He initiated his artistic learning in 1877 with the sculptor Cayetano Capuz. Four years later, Sorolla won a grant to study painting in Rome. He completed his education in Rome, studying under Francisco Pradilla. While there, he developed a distinct ability for depicting the effects of light. After returning to Spain in 1890, Sorolla settled down in Madrid. He began his professional career with successes, prizes and important orders. Of note, Sorolla won the National Medal of Beautiful Arts in 1892 and 1895 and the Grand Prix of the Exhibition of Paris of 1900. In these years, he painted works of social criticism, which granted a certain prestige to him in both Madrid and Paris.
1900 saw Sorolla move away from salon painting and follow a more personal vision. Sorolla tied the academic traditions of painting to the open air painting of the impressionists. An artist of enormous production, between 1880 and 1920, Sorolla executed over 4,000 paintings and sketches and some 8,000 drawings. He sent 500 paintings to his first show in Paris. His popularity extended through all of Europe, giving exhibitions in Berlin (1907) and London (1908). In 1909, Sorolla delivered 356 works to New York City for exhibition and sale. More than half sold and 160,000 people viewed his show. The success in America provided an important order for him: the decoration of the main room of the Hispanic Society of America. Funded by Archer Huntington, Sorolla was commissioned to paint fourteen panels to represent the people and customs of the diverse regions of Spain. The project took seven years to complete.
Sorolla collapsed from a stroke in 1920 while painting a portrait in his garden. Sadly, he was paralyzed for three years and died the 10th of August 1923 at the age of sixty.
Theodore Clement Steele
Theodore Clement Steele was born on September 11, 1847 in Owen County, Indiana. When “T.C.” was five, the family moved to Waveland, Indiana. T.C. began painting at an early age and upon graduating from college began earning a living as a portrait painter. In 1870, T.C. married Mary Lakin. The couple moved to Indianapolis. They also spent two years in Battle Creek, Michigan while T.C. fulfilled a number of portrait commissions. In 1873, the couple returned to Indianapolis and T.C. opened a studio. Through the help of an art patron and other acquaintances, T.C. raised enough money to move his family to Munich while he attended art school for five years. In return for the financial aid, T.C. agreed to send his supporters the paintings he produced in Munich.
T.C. studied painting at the Munich Academy with Ludwig von Loefftz. He also painted landscapes under the guidance of the American expatriate artist, J. Frank Currier. Loefftz was the more academic of his two teachers and gave T.C. the basis for his future portrait work. It was darker and more controlled than his landscapes. While in Munich, he also met fellow students William Forsyth and John Otis Adams who became lifelong friends and colleagues.
In 1885, T.C. and his family returned to Indianapolis. T.C. opened an art school with Susan Ketcham and later with William Forsyth.
T.C., along with William Forsyth, Otto Stark, John Otis Adams and Richard Gruelle, became known as the “Hoosier Group”. T.C. became the group’s acknowledged leader and often wrote articles on Impressionism for Modern Art. T.C. continued to build his reputation as a modern landscape painter. In 1905, he bought 200 acres in Brown County. He built his studio and home there and called it, “The House of Singing Winds”. Brown County and his estate became the focus of most of T.C’s paintings. In 1913, he was elected to the National Academy. T.C. applied impressionist technique to scenes of his beloved Indiana. He helped make Brown County an artistic destination for Midwest painters.
His brilliant use of color and his strong designs keep him at the forefront of 19th century American regionalist painting. T.C. Steele continued to paint until his death on the 24th of July, 1926.
Arthur Streeton was at the forefront of a small group of Australian painters responsible for creating an Impressionist style in the 1880’s.
Born in a small town near Melbourne, Australia, Streeton worked as an apprentice lithographer and spent his free time painting and drawing around the area. Streeton was part of a younger generation of artists who admired the French Barbizon Painters. It was this direct approach to painting outdoors and recording contemporary life that attracted the young Streeton to the Barbizon School.
In 1886, while sketching near Melbourne, the Streeton met artists, Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin. This marked an important turning point in Streeton’s career. He was invited to join the other artists in their painting camp and began associations with them that would last for Streeton’s lifetime.
Streeton, Roberts and McCubbin organized the very first Impressionist show in Australia. Called the “9 by 5 Impression Exhibition”, the majority of the 183 paintings on display were sketches painted on cigar box lids measuring 9 by 5 inches. The subject matter was more personal than anything exhibited before and redefined the definition of “acceptable” art.
The years following this landmark show found Streeton broadening both his abilities and subject matter. In 1896, after a successful solo show, he decided to travel to Europe to seek greater fame and fortune.
Success in London greatly increased Arthur Streeton’s significance in Australia. On his return to Melbourne in 1906, Streeton received a hero’s welcome. His solo exhibitions were a financial success. Streeton returned to London in 1908 and married. He joined the Medical corps during WWI and was appointed as an official war artist. Streeton finally return home in 1920, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Arthur Streeton was acknowledged as Australia’s greatest landscape painter. In this position, he increasingly became an outspoken conservationist — denouncing the destruction of his beloved Australian landscape. In the final years before his death, Streeton’s paintings reflected an unflinching dedication to preserving the land he loved.
John Henry Twachtman
John Henry Twachtman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1852. His parents were German immigrants. As a teen, Twachtman worked with his father in a design firm producing window shades. At 15, he became a part time student at the Ohio Mechanics Institute School of Design. At the age of 20, Twachtman transferred to the McMicken School of Design.
Twachtman met artist, Frank Duveneck, in 1874 who had just returned from Munich after successfully studying at the Royal Academy. Duveneck invited the younger Twachtman to share a studio with him and Henry Farny, another successful artist. Duveneck encouraged Twachtman to further his studies in Germany. When Duveneck returned to Munich in 1875, Twachtman accompanied him.
Twachtman enrolled in the Munich Royal Academy. In the spring of 1877, Twachtman met Duveneck and William Merritt Chase in Venice. He painted with them for nine months. Twachtman returned to America in 1878, settling in New York. He participated in the first Society of American Artists Exhibition and was elected as a member to the Society in 1880. He met the artists J. Alden Weir and R. Swain Gifford. They became friends and painting companions.
In 1881, Twachtman married Martha Scudder in Cincinnati and the couple honeymooned in Europe. Twachtman furthered his training in Paris and enrolled in the Academie Julian, studying under Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre.
In 1886, Twachtman returned to America and worked as an illustrator while continuing his gallery commitments. He worked for Scribner’s Magazine from 1888 for the rest of his life. Beginning in 1889, he also taught at the Art Students League in New York. In 1890, Twachtman bought a house and land in Greenwich, Connecticut. His property became the focus of many of his paintings.
In 1897, Twachtman became a founding member of the Ten American Painters. The other founding members were Childe Hassam, J. Alden Weir, Robert Reid, Willard Metcalf, Frank Weston Benson, Edmund Charles Tarbell, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Joseph DeCamp, and Edward Simmons. These artists were disillusioned with the direction of the Society of American Artists and formed their own group.
Twachtman embraced modern practices in his work as years went on. His paintings became more poetic and less dependant on draughtsmanship. He had a beautiful sense of color and a diaphanous approach with his tonal divisions. His brushwork loosened and he blended colors right on the canvas. Rather than rendering details, Twachtman’s later approach focused on strong composition and interesting design.In 1902, at age 49, Twachtman died suddenly in Gloucester of a brain aneurysm.
Anthony Thieme was born in 1888 in Rotterdam, Holland. Thieme showed artistic promise from early on in his childhood. His parents did not consider art a wise career choice and tried to dissuade Thieme by sending him off to Naval School as soon as he was of age. At 14, Thieme studied at the Academie of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. Subsequently, he studied for two years at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Thieme still could not convince his parents to support his desire to become an artist, so at the age of 17, he left home to pursue his artistic goals.
Thieme moved to Germany. He was employed as a Stage Designer while he continued to work on his painting skills. After three years, Thieme left Germany and traveled to Switzerland, then Italy, where he worked as a Stage Designer in Turin. In 1909, he enrolled in the Scuola di Belle Arti, studying for a year, then moved on to Naples. In Naples he spent two years sketching and painting. Moving to London, Thieme took the proceeds from the sale of some of his sketches and bought passage to New York. He was only 22.
He quickly found a job painting stage sets in New York. Although the pay was good, the work was unsatisfying to the young artist. Thieme began to travel again, always able to find work as a Stage Designer. He visited South America, France and Italy before returning to the United States. Thieme settled in Boston for a while, keeping a studio in Copley Square. While there, he did easel painting and illustration.
In 1928, Thieme had his first show, opening to critical acclaim. 1928 was also the year he won his first major award from the North Shore Art Association in Gloucester.
In 1929, Thieme married Lillian Beckett and bought a cottage in Rockport, Massachusetts. He opened the Thieme Summer School of Art. He ran the school until 1943. In Rockport, Thieme’s reputation continued to grow. His spectacular artwork of local scenes helped build the town’s reputation as an art destination. Thieme continued to travel extensively and after World War II, he and his wife wintered in St. Augustine, Florida.
Thieme became well-known for his ability to paint sunlight and shadow. Tragically, Anthony Thieme took his own life at the age of 66.
Robert William Vonnoh
Robert William Vonnoh was born in 1858 in Hartford, Connecticut. His parents moved to Boston while Vonnoh was still a child. He attended the Massachusetts Normal Art School, studying under George Bartlett and Edmond Tarbell. He graduated in 1879. Upon graduation, he began teaching drawing and painting at the same school. In 1881, Vonnoh made his first trip to France where he enrolled in the Académie Julian as a student under Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. Vonnoh remained in France for two years and returned to Boston in 1883. His portrait of a fellow American art student at the Académie Julian in Paris was juried into the Paris Salon of 1883. The portrait secured Vonnoh’s reputation when it was later displayed in his hometown of Boston.
Vonnoh became the principle at the East Boston Evening Drawing School while continuing to show his work. Vonnoh won his first American exhibition medal from the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association in 1884. The next year, Vonnoh transferred to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accepting a position as instructor of portrait and figure painting. In 1887, Vonnoh returned to France, settling in the area of Grèz-sur-Loing near the Forest of Fontainebleau with his new wife Grace D. Farrell. It was here that Vonnoh fully adopted the Impressionist aesthetic. Vonnoh’s paintings were accepted into the Paris Salon shows between 1887 and 1891.
In 1889, Vonnoh sent paintings from France for a One Man Show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1890, he returned to America and accepted a position as principal instructor in portrait and landscape painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts He held this position until 1894. In 1896, Vonnoh’s wife died. Three years later, Vonnoh married sculptor Bessie O. Potter.
Vonnoh’s influence as a teacher was significant. Vonnoh was considered a leading figure in American art at the turn of the 20th century. His students include Edward Henry Potthast, Edward Redfield, Walter Elmer Schofield, Robert Henri, John Sloan and William Glackens — the last three artists forming the core of the influential Ashcan School.
Beginning in 1905, the Vonnoh’s spent their next 25 summers at the Art Colony in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Vonnoh was one of the first American artists to successfully adopt Impressionism, although his style was a completely American version — never relinquishing form for the effect of light and atmosphere. His academic training made him an excellent portrait painter.
In 1925, Vonnoh’s eyesight began to deteriorate, robbing him of his ability to paint. He returned to Grèz-sur-Loing, France and died of a heart attack in Nice in 1933.
Marion Kavanagh Wachtel
Marion Kavanagh Wachtel was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1876. Her mother was an artist who encouraged Marion to pursue an artistic career. Marion studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and then with William Merritt Chase in New York. Chase was a proponent of outdoor painting and instilled in his students the importance of working from life. Marion returned to the Art Institute in Chicago to teach for several years before heading out west to study for a short time with William Keith in San Francisco.
When Marion decided to travel to Southern California in 1903, Keith advised Marion to look up Elmer Wachtel, a landscape painter whom Keith admired. When Marion arrived in Los Angeles she took Keith’s advice. Wachtel and Marion were married in Chicago in 1904. Once she was married, Marion began signing her paintings “Marion Kavanagh Wachtel”. She held solo shows of her work and also exhibited with her husband. Her watercolors were popular and she regularly exhibited in group shows on the east and west coasts. To avoid competing with her husband, Marion chose to paint only in watercolor until Elmer’s death.
Marion’s watercolors have a unique pastel color sense and atmospheric quality, separating her from most of the other painters of that time. Her diverse oeuvre includes portraits, California Coastal scenes, the Sierras and Sonoran desert. She was a founding member of the California Watercolor Society and was active in the Pasadena Society of Artists and the Academy of Western Painters as well as the New York Watercolor Club.
After Elmer Wachtel’s death in 1929, Marion took a hiatus from painting for a few years. When she picked up a brush again in 1931, it was in oils. Her oils show the same mastery her watercolors demonstrate with atmosphere and color. Marion died in Pasadena in 1954.
Frederick Judd Waugh
Frederick Judd Waugh was born in Bordentown, New Jersey on September 13, 1861. He was the youngest of five children. His father, Samuel Bell Waugh, was an accomplished portrait painter.
At nineteen, Waugh attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art for three years, studying under Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anschutz. Upon his graduation, Frederick sought further study in Paris at the Academie Julian under Adolphe William Bouguereau and Robert Fleury.
In 1892, Waugh married Clara Eugenie Bunn, a fellow art student from the Pennsylvania Academy. In 1893, the couple moved to the Island of Sark in the English Channel where they stayed for two years. It was on this island Waugh began his study of the sea. According to the artist, the island was a model for most of the conditions the marine painter needed to study.
In 1899, the Waugh’s moved to Hendon, eight miles outside of London. Waugh began working as an illustrator to support his growing family of four. In 1907, he entered two pieces into the Royal Academy show. They were both rejected, so Waugh decided to return to America.
Waugh and his family settled in Montclair Heights, New Jersey. He found a studio nearby in Montclair. It was the former studio of Gorge Inness Jr. and could accommodate the large paintings Waugh had planned to paint. The artist bartered his rent for one painting a year.
In 1910, Waugh won the Thomas B. Clark Prize at the National Academy of Design show. Over the next seven years, he established himself as the most popular marine painter in the country. Waugh was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design. He continued to paint the sea in all its moods and glory, winning many awards in his lifetime.
Waugh always painted from direct observation, but these studies were not for sale. Instead, Waugh used the studies, along with his memory of the experience to create finished paintings in the studio. His large studio paintings have a power and majesty rarely captured by most marine painters.
Frederick Waugh died in Provincetown, Massachusetts on Sept 10, 1940, at the age of seventy-nine.
William Wendt was born in Bentzen, Germany on February 20, 1865. At the age of fifteen, he immigrated to America, working in Chicago as a staff artist and illustrator. He attended night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, but was primarily a self-taught artist. While working as a commercial artist, Wendt was also exhibiting in Chicago area art shows where he won Second Place in the prestigious Charles T. Yerkes Competition from the Chicago Society of Artists in 1893.
It was in Chicago he met the plein air painter, Gardner Symons. The two became friends and traveled to California to paint; it was the first of many trips there. They also traveled to the Saint Ives Art Colony in Cornwall, England in 1898. In 1906, Wendt married Julia Bracken, a sculptress. The couple moved to California where they spent the rest of their lives.
In California, Wendt spent his time painting the landscape outdoors. His art was an extension of his religious beliefs. Wendt had a deep respect for untamed nature and found not only peace and comfort, but the manifestation of the Creator. His feelings are reflected in the titles of his paintings that use poetic — almost biblical style phrasing like, ‘Where Natures God has Wrought’ and ‘I Lifted Mine eyes to the Hills’. In 1911, he became a founding member of the California Art Club, serving as its President until 1914. He later served as President from 1917 to 1919.
In 1912, the Wendt’s moved to Laguna Beach. He was a founding member of the Laguna Beach Art Association. Wendt was also elected to the National Academy of Design as an Associate Member the same year.
During his career, Wendt won many prestigious awards including a Bronze Medal in the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, Silver Medals in the 1911 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and 1915 Pan-American Exposition in San Francisco and a Gold Medal in the 1925 Pan American Exposition in Los Angeles.
During his lifetime, William Wendt became known as the Dean of the Southern California landscape painters. He influenced generations of painters with his monumental canvases filled with bold bravura brushwork, strong color and design. William Wendt died in Laguna Beach in 1946.
Newell Convers Wyeth
One of the most famous illustrators from America’s Golden Age of Illustration was Newell Convers Wyeth. Also an accomplished easel painter, Newell Convers Wyeth was born on October 22, 1882. He was the eldest of four sons of Andrew Newell Wyeth, a farmer, and Henriette Zirngiebel. Growing up in a rural setting gave the young “N.C.” a deep love for the land and a great understanding of the human form in motion. N.C. had a keen ability for recalling the smallest visual details of a scene — something that would serve him well as an illustrator.
It was N.C.’s mother who encouraged his artistic ability and she who convinced his father to allow N.C. to attend art school instead of an apprenticeship to a New Hampshire Farm. N.C. attended the Mechanic Art School in Boston, graduating in 1899. He continued his studies at the Massachusetts Normal Art School and the Eric Pape School of Art in 1902. Through a fellow student, he was encouraged to apply for the Howard Pyle School in Delaware.
Howard Pyle was the most famous Illustrator of his time. His school was free to anyone who met Pyle’s standard for artistic excellence and hard work. Within 4 months, the 20 year old N.C. rose to the top of his class. Pyle encouraged his students to paint from life, whenever possible.
Although N.C was marginalized by other artists during his lifetime because he chose illustration as his occupation, his illustrations have stood the test of time as great paintings. N.C. became one of the most successful illustrators in America, illustrating such classics as Treasure Island, Last of the Mohicans, Robin Hood and Robinson Crusoe.
Throughout his career, N.C. would return to his passion for the land and people close to his homes in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and Port Clyde, Maine. These canvases not only have his illustrator’s skill of exceptional facility, but also a deep understanding of the land and the people who worked it.
N.C. Wyeth created what is one of the most impressive art families in America. His sons and daughters went on to become successful artists in their own right. His son, Andrew, and his grandson, Jamie, are continuing the legacy to this day.
N.C. was tragically killed with his grandson, Newell, when his car stalled on the train tracks near his house in 1945.
Anders Zorn was born in Mora, Sweden on February 18, 1860. Although his mother never married Zorn’s father and Anders never met him, Anders was acknowledged and allowed to carry his father’s name. His grandparents raised Zorn. At the age of 15, Zorn attended the Royal Academy in Stockholm.
His initial interest was sculpture, but he later switched to watercolors. In 1880, one of his watercolor paintings was recognized at the student exhibition. This introduced him to Stockholm society and many commissions soon followed. Zorn married Emma Lamm in 1885.
In 1887, the Zorn’s spent time in St. Ives in Cornwall, England. It was here he changed his medium to oils. His second oil painting was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1888 and was bought by the French State.
Zorn’s oil portraits launched him into international acclaim. The use of a limited palette of red, yellow, black and white added an economy and unity to his paintings. His ability to capture the individual character of his models and his bravura brushwork attracted many patrons.
Zorn also embraced naturalism; painting models outdoors or in natural settings for the sitter instead of the artist’s studio.
In 1893, Zorn was chosen to supervise the Columbian World Fair in Chicago, Illinois. This was the first of many lucrative trips to the USA for Zorn and his wife. He received many portrait commissions from American society — including several Presidents and Isabella Stewart Gardner, the most prominent American art patron of the time.
In 1896, the Zorn’s returned to Sweden and began to build Zorngarden in Mora. The Zorn’s helped to preserve folk culture of Mora, establishing a music contest and schools in the area. Zorn is credited with creating a folk music revival in Sweden. Zorn was also a successful sculptor and etcher producing nearly 300 etchings in his career.
Zorn died on August 22,1920.
Emma survived Anders by 21 years. She created a museum in his honor and continued the philanthropic work to preserve the ancient culture of Dalarna, and the folk dialect and traditions of Mora started with her husband.