Willard Metcalf

Willard L. Metcalf

By
Armand Cabrera

Willard L. Metcalf was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1858. He began his art studies at the Lowell Institute and apprenticed to the painter, George Loring Brown. For the next few years, Metcalf illustrated articles on the Zuni and the Southwest for Century Magazine.

In 1883, with enough money earned from his illustration assignments, Metcalf traveled to France to study at the Julian Academie under Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. After a few years in France, Metcalf slowly moved away from the painting style being taught in the Academie. He now embraced the Impressionist ideal that revered painting from life as the core of good painting. In 1888, Metcalf returned to America and prepared to mount a one-man show of 44 paintings—mostly studies executed in the open air style he adopted in Europe. While the show was praised critically, sales were low and Metcalf decided to leave Boston for New York.


In New York, Metcalf continued work as an illustrator and in order to provide a steady income, took portrait commissions. In addition, Metcalf taught at the Art Students League and Coopers Union.

In 1896, Metcalf won the Webb Prize from the Society of American Artist’s show. It was his last time exhibiting with this organization. Metcalf and his artist friends were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the crowded settings and selection standards of the organization. They felt the standards had dropped too low and were compromised. Metcalf and other notable artists resigned and formed, “The Ten American Painters”. “The Ten”, as they were referred to by the press, were Childe Hassam, John Twatchman, Willard Metcalf, Frank Benson, J Alden Weir, Thomas Dewing, Robert Reid, Edward Simmons, Edmund Tarbell, and Joseph De Camp. In 1905, William Merritt Chase was asked to join the group, replacing the now deceased, Twatchman. They were the embodiment of the American Impressionist movement. “The Ten” held yearly exhibitions until 1919.

Metcalf struggled for continued financial and critical success for most of his life. It wasn’t until late in his career that his unique vision of the New England countryside took hold with critics and profited him financially. Metcalf’s perception was thoroughly American and was appreciated for its naturalism.

Metcalf’s success as a painter lies in his ability to depict the landscape with honesty and fidelity. His New England scenes are an intimate glimpse of a totally American ideal. He stayed true to his artistic beliefs in a time when proponents of modernism sought to marginalize established forms of style. This focus helped him create a personal style whose roots were founded in the tenets of American Impressionism that lasts to this day.

Willard Metcalf died in 1925.


Bibliography
Sunlight and ShadowElizabeth De Veer and Richard J. Boyle
1987

Willard Metcalf Yankee ImpressionistRichard J. Boyle
Bruce Chambers
William H. Gerdts
2003

Quote
Go out and paint what you see and forget your theories.
-Willard Metcalf

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Thomas Moran

Thomas MoranBy
Armand Cabrera

Thomas Moran was born in 1837 in Bolton, England—the fifth of seven children. His father was a handloom weaver. The industrial revolution motivated the family to move to the United States to escape unemployment and poverty. The Moran family settled in Kensington, near Philadelphia. Thomas Moran’s older brother, Edward, was the first to pursue art and become a successful marine painter. Young Thomas never had any formal training but was influenced by his older brother and his brother’s studio mate, John Hamilton. Thomas began frequenting his brother’s studio by 1855 and accompanied him on sketching trips. In 1862, the brothers returned to England to study the works of J.W.M. Turner. Thomas made copies of the paintings he saw at the National Gallery, trying to replicate the color and luminosity of Turner.


When Thomas returned to America, he found work as both a fine artist and a commercial illustrator. In 1871, at the request of Scribner’s Magazine, he was to redraw an amateur’s sketches of a trip to the Yellowstone region in Wyoming. Based on the unusual terrain in the sketches, Thomas decided to visit Yellowstone for himself. He borrowed money so he could accompany a survey party that was returning to the area later that year. The trip so inspired the young artist that he dedicated his life to the depiction of the American West.

Thomas Moran never painted with oils while traveling; instead he preferred to make sketches in watercolor, gouache and pencil and later translate these into his great pictures. He was not interested in recording nature literally. For Thomas, the truth was in his impression of the place. He used all means at his disposal to heighten the effect he was after.

It is believed that Thomas Moran’s paintings helped to secure Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon as National Parks. His paintings, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Chasm of the Colorado and Mountain of the Holy Cross became icons of the American Landscape.

At the turn of the century, Thomas Moran was attacked for being outdated. However, Moran’s paintings never fell out of favor with the public. He enjoyed continued artistic success until his death at the age of ninety.

Bibliography
Thomas MoranNancy K. Anderson
Yale University Press

Splendors of the American West: Thomas Moran’s Art of the Grand Canyon and YellowstoneAnne Morand, Joni L. Kinsey, Mary Panzer
Birmingham Museum of Art

Thomas Moran The Field Sketches, 1856-1923Anne Morand
University of Oklahoma Press

Quote
In working I use my memory. This I have trained from youth, so that while sketching I impress indelibly upon my memory the features of the landscape and the combinations of coloring so that when back in the studio the watercolor will recall vividly all the striking peculiarities of the scenes visited. ~Thomas Moran
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John Carlson

John Fabian Carlson
(1875-1945)

By
Armand Cabrera

John Fabian Carlson was born in Sweden—the son of a tailor. The Carlson family immigrated to New York when John was nine. At fifteen, Carlson studied in the evenings with Lucius Hitchcock at the Albright School in Buffalo. He worked as a lithographer during the day to help support his family until he was 28. He then moved to New York, having received a one-year scholarship to attend the Art Students League. At the League, he studied with Frank DuMond. In 1904 Carlson won a prize to study with Birge Harrison at Woodstock.


When the Arts Student League opened summer classes in 1906 in Woodstock, Carlson recommended Harrison be hired as the schools first teacher. Harrison, in turn, hired Carlson as his assistant. Carlson remained Harrison’s assistant until 1910. Upon Harrison’s retirement, Carlson succeeded him as director in 1911. He kept the director’s job until 1918. He then served two years as co-director of the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado from 1920 to 1922. Carlson then returned to open the John F. Carlson School of Landscape Painting in Woodstock where he worked until his death in 1945. Carlson won many awards in his lifetime and was elected full Academician to the National Academy of Design in 1925.

Carlson’s romantic realism is still an inspiration to this day. He had the ability to organize and simplify nature in such a poetic and personal way that is beautiful to behold. His design and color sense only heightened the lyrical quality in his art. He had a special affinity for trees and forest interiors. Most of his large canvases were painted in the studio from smaller outdoor sketches. Carlson’s book, Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting, is the bible for beginning painters and serious professionals. His thorough, honest approach and clear ideas set forth in the book have trained many painters. The 75+ years the book has stayed in print has proven its veracity to continued generations of artists.

Bibliography

John F. Carlson N.A.
1874-1945
Exhibition Catalogs 1, 2, 3
Vose Galleries Boston, MA 1978, 1980, 1981

The Carlsons
Exhibition Catalog
Jim’s Antiques Fine Art Gallery
Lambertville, NJ 2000

Quote
We are all living in a neurotically impatient age, when everyone strains to attain to virtuosity without having had to do the accompanying labor. I repeat labor. For all great men have been prodigious workers: in fact, they appall us with their energy and enthusiasm. They challenge obstacles with something akin to fury, where a weak man would shun an effort. ~ John F. Carlson

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*Albert Thomas DeRome

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by
Armand Cabrera
Albert Thomas DeRome was born in 1885 near San Luis Obispo, California. He studied art for two years at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco under Arthur Matthews. Following his schooling, DeRome worked as a cartoonist for the San Jose Mercury News and also as a commercial artist. He eventually worked as a sales manager for George Hass and Sons. This allowed DeRome to travel and paint throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. During this time, his painting partners included many prominent artists including William Keith, Percy Gray, Will Sparks and Gunner Widforss.

In 1931, DeRome suffered a serious head-on auto accident. An insurance settlement stipulated that he could no longer work as a professional artist. He moved to Pacific Grove, California, where his recovery took many years. DeRome continued to paint and exhibit as an amateur and would frequently trade his paintings for goods and services or give them away to family and friends. DeRome was equally adept at watercolor and oils, working in both mediums throughout his career.DeRome preferred to work in a small format. Most of his paintings were no larger than 18” x 24”. He is known for his beautiful pastel color harmonies and strong design. Many of his paintings were of the San Francisco Bay Area and coastal scenes along the dunes of Monterey Bay, including Carmel and Pacific Grove. He had a tradition of writing the date, time of day and other details about the painting on the back of his canvases. He even went as far as to include comments by observers, friends and other artists.

DeRome won many awards for his work, despite the restrictions placed on him by his insurance settlement. Among others, his awards included 6, First Place prizes at the Monterey County Fair between 1939 and 1947. Albert Thomas DeRome died in Carmel on July 31, 1859 at the age of 74. Tragically, many of his paintings were destroyed in the 1991Oakland Hills Firestorm.


Bibliography


Albert Thomas DeRome 1885 1959Walter A. Nelson-Reese
WIM Publishers 1988
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John Joseph Enneking

John Joseph Enneking

 

By

Armand Cabrera

John Joseph Enneking was born on October 4, 1841 in Minster, Ohio. His parents, Joseph and Margaretha, were farmers. Enneking showed an interest in art from an early age, drawing landscapes and animals. Tragically, Enneking’s parents died in 1856. He was taken in by an aunt and uncle in Cincinnati.

In Cincinnati, it is believed Enneking saw his first art exhibitions and resolved to become a professional artist. He took art lessons at Cincinnati’s Mount Mary’s College. He later fought as a Union Soldier in the Civil War, was wounded and taken captive by the Confederates. When released, he went to Boston, built a home in Hyde Park and married.

Enneking traveled to Europe to continue his training. He studied first in Munich then in Paris under Leon Bonnat and Charles Daubigny. In 1873, Enneking was painting beside the most famous Barbizon and Impressionist painters, including Millet, Corot, Renoir, Monet and Pissarro. Enneking traveled and painted with Monet and Pissarro in Argenteuil.

Enneking returned to Boston in 1876. He was a great proponent of Impressionism, encouraging many young American painters to train with Monet in France. Enneking opened a studio next to Childe Hassam and George Fuller. He was considered one of the top modern landscape painters in New England at the time.

Enneking’s training allowed him to blend academic drawing with the spontaneous brushwork and heavy impasto of the Barbizon and Impressionist schools, giving him a unique approach to landscapes. Although he was adept at many types of subject matter, he is most remembered for his beautiful depictions of forest interiors and blazing New England sunset scenes.

More than just a painter, Enneking was also a fierce conservationist, advocating preservation and conservation of wild places. John Joseph Enneking died in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, in 1916.


Bibliography
John Joseph Enneking American Impressionist PainterPatricia Jobe Pierce
Pierce Galleries 1972

QuoteI’m a disciple of the esthetic, the beautiful… Study nature, nature is truth.
J.J. Enneking

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