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 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.
The Good Simple Life Artist Colonies in Europe and America
Phaidon Press 1985
New Hope For American Art
James M Alterman
Published by Jim’s of Lambertville 2005
The Lure of Paris
Nineteenth Century American Painters and Their French TeachersH. Barbara Weinberg
Abbeville Press 1991
QuoteWe devote ourselves to out-of –door pursuits; we have learned to love out-of –door nature and beauty. It is our best achievement as a nation; and our artists in this are therefore simply keeping step with the march of modern civilization.
~Birge (Lovell) Harrison.