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.
Edward Willis Redfield1869-1965
QuoteWhat I wanted to do was go outdoors and capture the look of a scene, whether it was a barn or a bridge, but how it looked on a certain day. So I trained myself to set down what I saw all in one day, working sometimes eight hours or more. I never painted over a canvas again; I think it ruins them. Either you’ve got it the first time or you haven’t.