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.
Richard Parkes Bonington ‘On the Pleasure of Painting’
1991 Yale University press
Quote Lithography is drawing itself. In it we discover the hand, the thought of it’s author: it is not a faithful copy; to our mind it is the echo of the model, it is a mirror that reflects and multiplies the original.~ R.P. Bonington
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Aldro Thompson 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.
A.T. Hibbard, N. A.
Artist in Two WorldsJohn L. Cooley
1996 Rockport Art Association Press
Beware of too much studio landscape painting. Direct contact gives you the rare elements, moods of short duration.~Aldro T. Hibbard
Percy 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 expected 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.
The Legacy of Percy Gray1998 The Carmel Art Association
Plein Air Painters of California
The NorthRuth Westphal
1986 Westphal Publishing
“It has been said of Percy Gray; even though he is a realist he endows his pictures with the eerie charm of romance. He knows how to bring out the misty quality of the air, the mystery of clouds sailing by the soul of trees and the fragrance of flowers.” ~Nadia Lavrova 1926
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. At fourteen he was apprenticed to a jeweler, but Maurice eventually convinced his parents to let him pursue art instead.
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 successful he began to find portraiture too confining artistically. In 1910 Maurice decided to head to California settling in San Diego.
In San Diego Maurice opened the Fine Art Academy where he offered classes in drawing, design, painting and outdoor sketching. Maurice continued to exhibit back east where he received favorable reviews for his California Scenes. In 1915 and 1916 he won gold medals at both World Fairs. Maurice also held one man shows in California and New York
In California Maurice became interested in 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 his 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.
Four Early San Diego Landscape PaintersMartin E. Petersen
San Diego Museum of Art 1991
William H. Gerdts
Abbeville Press 1984
Let us remember that method style, subject and all the rest are merely the clothing in which the thing itself Art is enclosed.~Maurice Braun
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.
BibliographyFrank W. Benson American ImpressionistFaith Andrews Bedford
QuoteThose things which you do when you are freshly inspired and excited by the beauty of what you are seeing before you are important things.~Frank Benson