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Isabel L. Taube

Term applied variously to describe a specific style, movement, and artistic affiliation embraced by American artists from about 1885 to 1920. Impressionism began in France in the early 1870s and later spread throughout Europe and the USA. While artists continue to paint in an Impressionist style today, art historians generally use the term American Impressionism to refer to an historical tendency that gained prominence and flourished during the last decades of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th. Impressionism began as a radical reaction to more conservative approaches to painting, and only in the early 20th century did it become a mainstream style in comparison with other developments in modern art. American Impressionism included a diversity of approaches, usually attributed to geographic and regional differences.

Impressionism as an art movement and style began when a group of painters, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Renoir, became frustrated with the traditional criteria favoured by the official French government-sponsored exhibitions and joined together to organize an independent show of their work in Paris in ...

Article

Bailey Van Hook

(b Salem, MA, March 24, 1862; d Salem, Nov 15, 1951).

American painter, etcher and teacher. Benson attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 1880 to 1883 as a student of Otto Grundmann (1844–90) and Frederick Crowninshield (1845–1918). In 1883 he travelled with his fellow student and lifelong friend Edmund C(harles) Tarbell to Paris, where they both studied at the Académie Julian for three years with Gustave(-Clarence-Rodolphe) Boulanger and Jules(-Joseph) Lefebvre. Benson travelled with Tarbell to Italy in 1884 and to Italy, Belgium, Germany and Brittany the following year. When he returned home, Benson became an instructor at the Portland (ME) School of Art, and after his marriage to Ellen Perry Peirson in 1888 he settled in Salem, MA. Benson taught with Tarbell at the Museum School in Boston from 1889 until their resignation over policy differences in 1913. Benson rejoined the staff the next year and taught intermittently as a visiting instructor until ...

Article

Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick

(b San Francisco, CA, May 21, 1868,; d San Francisco, CA, Oct 26, 1923).

American painter and muralist. At the age of 12, she spent a year visiting the important galleries of Europe, which instilled in her aspirations of becoming an artist. Later, in San Francisco, she attended the California School of Design (c. 1888) under Emil Carlsen and the San Francisco Art Students League (1889), studying with Arthur F. Mathews. Subsequently, she made two more trips to Europe. In 1901, she studied with André Lhôte and at La Palette and the Académie Moderne in Paris; in 1910–1911/12, she exhibited at the Paris Salon (1911) and painted and sketched in Brittany and Barbizon. Afterwards she continued to paint, teach and involve herself in women suffrage issues and in the art community of San Francisco.

Best known for her still-lifes, Bremer also painted landscapes (in several northern California counties), marines, figures and portraits. Of her paintings, her cousin and art patron Albert Bender stated: ‘She continued to interpret nature, animate and inanimate, through a technique [which is] unmistakably her own and which is distinguished by simplicity, clarity and purity of colors.’ Her earlier works were painted in soft, muted tones and in a decorative style, as typified by ...

Article

Nancy Mowll Mathews

(Stevenson )

(b Allegheny City [now in Pittsburgh], May 22, 1844; d Le Mesnil-Théribus, France, June 14, 1926).

American painter and printmaker, active in France. One of the great American expatriates of the later 19th century (along with Sargent and Whistler), Cassatt was an active member of the Impressionist group in Paris and carved out a lasting international reputation for her famous ‘modern’ representations of the mother and child (see fig.). Because of her success, her life and art have been closely examined to gain a better understanding of how gender affects artists during their lifetimes and afterwards in historical perspective.

Daughter of a Pittsburgh broker, Mary Stevenson Cassatt received a cultured upbringing and spent five years abroad as a child (1851–5). In 1860, at the age of 16, she began classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and in 1866 sailed again for Europe. During the next four years she studied in Paris with Jean-Léon Gérôme and Charles Chaplin, in Ecouen with ...

Article

Carolyn Kinder Carr

(b Williamsburg, IN, Nov 1, 1849; d New York, Oct 25, 1916).

American painter and printmaker. Chase received his early training in Indianapolis from the portrait painter Barton S. Hays (1826–75). In 1869 he went to New York to study at the National Academy of Design where he exhibited in 1871. That year he joined his family in St Louis, where John Mulvaney (1844–1906) encouraged him to study in Munich. With the support of several local patrons, enabling him to live abroad for the next six years, Chase entered the Königliche Akademie in Munich in 1872. Among his teachers were Alexander von Wagner (1838–1919), Karl Theodor von Piloty and Wilhelm von Diez (1839–1907). Chase also admired the work of Wilhelm Leibl. The school emphasized bravura brushwork, a technique that became integral to Chase’s style, favoured a dark palette and encouraged the study of Old Master painters, particularly Diego Velázquez and Frans Hals. Among Chase’s friends in Munich were the American artists Walter Shirlaw, J. Frank Currier and Frederick Dielman (...

Article

Charlotte Moser

(b Utica, NY, Sept 26, 1862; d Florence, Oct 24, 1928).

American painter and illustrator. He first trained as an architectural draughtsman at the Academy of Design, Chicago (1878). After studying briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago, he went to New York, where he attended the Gotham School and the Art Students League (1886–8). By 1887 he was working as an illustrator for Century magazine. A realist landscape painter in the 19th-century academic tradition, he was influenced by the painters of the Hudson River school and particularly by the luminist, dream-like landscapes of George Inness.

Around 1900 Davies’s paintings became Symbolist in style, with the introduction of mystical nude figures in the landscape, as in Meeting in the Forest (1900; Montclair, NJ, A. Mus.) and Autumn—Enchanted Salutation (1907; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.). Themes combining Classical figures and landscape, which evolved in a mythical classicist style reminiscent of the work of Puvis de Chavannes, typified Davies’s work throughout his career. Increasingly drawn to ancient art and Greco-Roman civilization, he eventually identified the archaic with modernism, for example in ...

Article

Ross C. Anderson

(b Cincinnati, OH, Nov 5, 1858; d Boca Grande, FL, Feb 11, 1923).

American painter. He first studied in Cincinnati, at the McMicken School of Design, and in 1875 travelled to Munich, where he attended the Kunstakademie with Frank Duveneck, whom he later accompanied on a trip to Italy. DeCamp returned to America in 1883 and settled in Boston, where he embarked on a highly successful career. He exhibited regularly with many arts organizations in Boston and New York and held several influential teaching posts, including instructor of antique drawing at the Boston Museum School. In 1897, with John H. Twachtman and others, he became a founder-member of the group of American Impressionists known as the Ten American Painters.

Like his Boston colleagues Edmund Tarbell and Frank Weston Benson, DeCamp is best known for his portraits of elegant, fashionable women, in which he paid great attention to bodily structure and the precise delineation of facial contours. He was less vulnerable than some of his contemporaries to criticisms of studied prettiness and excessive gentility; he often eschewed elaborate interiors and decorative furnishings in favour of flat, dark backdrops, as in the introspective portrait of his daughter ...

Article

Marisa J. Pascucci

(b Belostok, Russia [now Białystok, Poland], Dec 25, 1884; d Detroit, MI, April 5, 1930).

American painter of Russian birth. Halpert arrived in New York City as a child in 1889 and grew up on the Lower East Side with other Eastern European Jewish immigrants. He spent most of his life studying independently and working in New York City and Paris. He was married to Edith Gregor Halpert, owner and director of Downtown Gallery, which played a major role in the rise of modern art in the United States.

Halpert’s artistic training began in 1899 with studying and working for his tuition at the Educational Alliance and National Academy of Design, where he met his first artistic mentors Jacob Epstein, Henry McBride (1867–1962) and J. Carroll Beckwith (1852–1917). In 1902 he made his first visit to Paris, sponsored with funds raised by Beckwith, staying until 1905 and studying first at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts then at the less restrictive Académie Julian. He ultimately left the structured learning environment all together to learn independently from contemporary artists working in Paris, such as the Impressionists ...

Article

Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick

(b Placerville, CA, Dec 2, 1862; d Monterey, CA, May 6, 1948).

American painter. After settling in San Francisco in the late 1860s with her family, she attended the Irving Institute. She began her art training at the California School of Design under Virgil Williams (1830–86), Emil Carlsen and Raymond Dabb Yelland (1848–1900), earning an honourable mention (1886) and the prestigious Avery Gold Medal for oil painting (1888). She continued her studies at the Académie Julian in Paris (1889–91), with Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant and Jules LeFebvre. Travelling the French countryside to paint at Giverny (1890, 1891), she, along with other American Impressionists who frequented the Hotel Baudy, vicariously absorbed the spirit of Givernyés resident Impressionist, Claude Monet. On her return to the Bay Area, McCormick again resided in San Francisco but, as early as 1892, began sojourns to the Monterey Peninsula. By 1899, she had studios in both locations and became a full-time resident of Monterey by ...

Article

Richard J. Boyle

(b Cincinnati, OH, Aug 4, 1853; d Gloucester, MA, Aug 8, 1902).

American painter and printmaker. He began as a painter of window-shades but developed one of the most personal and poetic visions in American landscape painting, portraying nature on canvases that were, in the words of Childe Hassam, ‘strong, and at the same time delicate even to evasiveness’. His first artistic training was under Frank Duveneck, with whom he studied first in Cincinnati and then in Munich (1875–7). His absorption of the Munich style, characterized by bravura brushwork and dextrous manipulation of pigment, with the lights painted as directly as possible into warm, dark grounds derived from Frans Hals and Courbet, is reflected in such paintings as Venice Landscape (1878; Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.) and Landscape (c. 1882; Utica, NY, Munson–Williams–Proctor Inst.)

Twachtman became increasingly dissatisfied with the Munich style’s lack of draughtsmanship, so he went to Paris in 1883 to study at the Académie Julian. In the winter he concentrated on drawing, and in the summer he painted in the Normandy countryside and at Arques-la-Bataille, near Dieppe. ...