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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

Laura E. Leaper

(b Worcester, MA, Feb 11, 1855; d Brookline, MA, Nov 14, 1940).

American painter and printmaker. Hale was among the first generation of artists collectively known as the Boston school of painting. Her work in this group and her prominent role as an advocate for women in the arts helped future generations of American women to further their pursuits as artists. She taught classes in the 1870s and 1880s, encouraging women to develop their interests and talents, and offered support to younger generations of women looking for their place in Boston society. Hale often painted young women in interiors, which was a typical subject of the Boston school. Although her works were included in exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Paris Salon and the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, among others, she never showed her work in a solo show during her lifetime.

Hale’s family held a prominent position in American society: most notably her great-aunt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, was the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; while another great-aunt, Catherine Beecher, was an important women’s rights advocate; her great-uncle Nathan Hale, was the noted American patriot; her paternal grandfather, also named Nathan Hale, was the editor of the ...

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

Marisa J. Pascucci

(b Marlboro, MA, Aug 25, 1867; d Lexington, MA, April 16, 1945).

American painter and frame designer. Murphy painted landscapes, still lifes and portraits in the Tonalist and Impressionist manner (see Tonalism and Impressionism). In the 1880s he enrolled in the Boston Museum School and studied under Edmund C(harles) Tarbell and Frank W(eston) Benson. After this period of study, he served as an illustrator for the Nicaraguan Canal Expedition in 1887 and contributed illustrations to books and magazines from 1888 to 1894. Once he had saved enough money from his illustration work, he left Boston to study in Paris at the Académie Julian from 1891 to 1896 with Jean-Paul Laurens. While in Paris, he met James McNeill Whistler who had the greatest influence on his work. Murphy returned to the Boston area in 1897 and was awarded the bronze medal at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. A year later he began teaching life drawing at Harvard School of Architecture, a position he held until ...

Article

Giulio V. Blanc

(b Yaguajuay, nr Placetas, Jan 5, 1896; d Havana, April 8, 1968).

Cuban painter, ceramicist and illustrator. She studied under Leopoldo Romañach (1862–1951) at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana, where she was influenced by Impressionism. She graduated in 1924 and lived in Paris from 1927 to 1933, studying at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole du Louvre. She also studied composition and colour with the Russian Constructivist and stage designer Alexandra Exter. She held an individual exhibition at the Galerie Zak in Paris in 1933 and in 1934 returned to Cuba.

Peláez applied her Parisian experiences, particularly of Cubism and of her apprenticeship to Exter, to a personal style based on the forms and colours of the luxuriant tropical vegetation and the Baroque colonial architecture of Cuba. Like Víctor Manuel, she combined modernism with native elements in a style at once Cuban and cosmopolitan in paintings such as Still-life in Red...

Article

John I. H. Baur

(b Irasburg, VT, July 3, 1852; d New York, April 2, 1896).

American painter, active also in France. Brought up in Evansville, WI, he studied art briefly in Chicago at the end of the 1860s, and in New York at the National Academy of Design (1874–6). His early work, for example Haying (1882; Cooperstown, NY, Mus. NY State Hist. Assoc.), was in the painterly American genre tradition of Winslow Homer. From 1876 to 1878 he studied in Paris under Carolus-Duran, alongside John Singer Sargent, and under Jean-Léon Gérôme. In 1879 Robinson returned to the USA and lived mainly in New York and Boston; he made a living by teaching and by assisting John La Farge and Prentice Treadwell with mosaic and stained-glass decorations for the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. In 1881 he was elected to the Society of American Artists, a group in revolt against the conservatism of the National Academy. Returning to France in 1884, Robinson worked in Paris and Barbizon and was strongly influenced for a time by the Barbizon school. A crucial event was his meeting with Monet at Giverny, near Rouen, in ...

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. ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(d’Angelo )

(b Salerno, July 30, 1866; d Rio de Janeiro, Oct 15, 1944).

Brazilian painter and decorative artist, of Italian birth. He was taken as an infant from Italy to Rio de Janeiro. In 1884 he began studying in Rio de Janeiro at the Academia Imperial das Belas Artes and the Liceu Imperial de Artes e Ofícios under Victor Meirelles de Lima, Henrique Bernardelli (1837–1946) and Rodolfo Amoedo (1857–1941). He was active in efforts to eliminate the academy’s rigid academic discipline. He went to Paris in 1892 and attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, where he was taught by Eugène-Samuel Grasset. At the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, Visconti won a silver medal for the paintings Youth (1898) and Dance of the Wood Nymphs (1899; both Rio de Janeiro, Mus. N. B.A.). Following the Pre-Raphaelites, his main influences were Botticelli and other painters of the Italian Renaissance, but he was also affected by Grasset and Art Nouveau. On his return to Brazil, among the works exhibited in ...