William Merritt Chase

William Merritt Chase
(1849-1916)

By
Armand Cabrera

William Merritt Chase was born in Williamsburg, Indiana. His father operated a successful business as a harness maker. When William was 12, the Chase family moved to Indianapolis where his father opened a shoe store. The young Chase had always shown an interest in art. His father, understanding his son would never follow in the shoe business, took William to a local artist to study art. This was followed by a trip to New York to continue his studies at the National Academy of Design. In New York, he had some success as a still life painter. In 1871, he returned to his family who had moved to St. Louis. Chase opened a studio there. His success was not as great as it was in New York and it was only through the generosity of a few art patrons that Chase was given the chance to go to Europe to continue his training.


In 1872, Chase began classes in Munich at the Royal Academy. Chase’s success at the academy culminated with a commission by the director, Karl Von Piloty. Chase was asked to paint portraits of Piloty’s four children. This endorsement assured Chase’s success as a painter. Before returning home to America, he was offered a position at the newly created Art Students League along with his friend and fellow student, Frank Duveneck. Chase continued to teach at the League until 1896. His exceptional skills as an artist combined with his charismatic nature and unlimited energy made him an instant success as a teacher and artist in America. This vitality allowed him to teach continually at several schools, execute numerous portrait commissions, act as head of art organizations and exhibit in annual competitions.

An accomplished portrait painter, Chase was also a dedicated outdoor painter. He believed in teaching painting from life, whether it was for still life, portrait or landscape painting. Chase was the founder of the first professional American school of outdoor painting on Long Island. The Shinnecock Summer School of Art was started in 1891 and continued until 1902. Subsequently, Chase continued classes abroad and around the country and concluded his teaching in 1913—just three years before his death.

Bibliography

William Merritt Chase 1849-1916
Ronald G. Pisano

Summer Afternoons The Landscape Paintings of William Merritt Chase
Ronald G. Pisano

William Merritt Chase:Modern American Landscapes
Barbara Dayer Gallati

Quote

I believe in single sitting impressions. If you will acquire the ability and facility to do rapidly the thing that might otherwise cause you great trouble and time, you will place yourself in a position to record a great many things that do not last long. Nature rarely repeats itself, and one does not always find oneself in the same state of mind. It is necessary to acquire all the facility possible, so you can immediately express yourself without hesitation. —– William Merritt Chase

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Arthur Streeton

Arthur Streeton

(1867-1943)

by
Armand Cabrera

Arthur Streeton was at the forefront of a small group of Australian painters responsible for creating an Impressionist style in the 1880’s.

Born in a small town near Melbourne, Australia, Streeton worked as an apprentice lithographer and spent his free time painting and drawing around the area. Streeton was part of a younger generation of artists who admired the French Barbizon Painters. It was this direct approach to painting outdoors and recording contemporary life that attracted the young Streeton to the Barbizon School.


In 1886, while sketching near Melbourne, the Streeton met artists, Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin. This marked an important turning point in Streeton’s career. He was invited to join the other artists in their painting camp and began associations with them that would last for Streeton’s lifetime.

Streeton, Roberts and McCubbin organized the very first Impressionist show in Australia. Called the “9 by 5 Impression Exhibition”, the majority of the 183 paintings on display were sketches painted on cigar box lids measuring 9 by 5 inches. The subject matter was more personal than anything exhibited before and redefined the definition of “acceptable” art.

The years following this landmark show found Streeton broadening both his abilities and subject matter. In 1896, after a successful solo show, he decided to travel to Europe to seek greater fame and fortune.

Success in London greatly increased Arthur Streeton’s significance in Australia. On his return to Melbourne in 1906, Streeton received a hero’s welcome. His solo exhibitions were a financial success. Streeton returned to London in 1908 and married. He joined the Medical corps during WWI and was appointed as an official war artist. Streeton finally return home in 1920, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Arthur Streeton was acknowledged as Australia’s greatest landscape painter. In this position, he increasingly became an outspoken conservationist—denouncing the destruction of his beloved Australian landscape. In the final years before his death, Streeton’s paintings reflected an unflinching dedication to preserving the land he loved.

Bibliography

Arthur Streeton 1867-1943
Geoffrey Smith
National Gallery of Victoria

Golden Summers Heidelberg and Beyond
Jane Clark and Bridget Whitelaw
International Cultural Corporation of Australia

Quote

It seems an amazing thing to me that a community which is progressive and businesslike in so many ways, should suffer hundreds and hundreds of acres of valuable timber to be destroyed to facilitate some work of the moment when so little is gained from it.
Arthur Streeton
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Edward Redfield

Edward Redfield


By

Armand Cabrera

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.


Bibliography
Edward Willis Redfield1869-1965
J.M.W. Fletcher

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.
~Edward Redfield

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Joaquin Sorolla

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

By
Armand Cabrera

Sorolla was born in 1863 in Valencia, Spain. At two years of age, his parents died in a cholera outbreak that left him orphaned. His aunt and uncle raised him. He initiated his artistic learning in 1877 with the sculptor Cayetano Capuz. Four years later, Sorolla won a grant to study painting in Rome. He completed his education in Rome, studying under Francisco Pradilla. While there, he developed a distinct ability for depicting the effects of light. After returning to Spain in 1890, Sorolla settled down in Madrid. He began his professional career with successes, prizes and important orders. Of note, Sorolla won the National Medal of Beautiful Arts in 1892 and 1895 and the Grand Prix of the Exhibition of Paris of 1900. In these years, he painted works of social criticism, which granted a certain prestige to him in both Madrid and Paris.

1900 saw Sorolla move away from salon painting and follow a more personal vision. Sorolla tied the academic traditions of painting to the open air painting of the impressionists. An artist of enormous production, between 1880 and 1920, Sorolla executed over 4,000 paintings and sketches and some 8,000 drawings. He sent 500 paintings to his first show in Paris. His popularity extended through all of Europe, giving exhibitions in Berlin (1907) and London (1908). In 1909, Sorolla delivered 356 works to New York City for exhibition and sale. More than half sold and 160,000 people viewed his show. The success in America provided an important order for him: the decoration of the main room of the Hispanic Society of America. Funded by Archer Huntington, Sorolla was commissioned to paint fourteen panels to represent the people and customs of the diverse regions of Spain. The project took seven years to complete.

Sorolla collapsed from a stroke in 1920 while painting a portrait in his garden. Sadly, he was paralyzed for three years and died the 10th of August 1923 at the age of sixty.

Bibliography

Sorolla: The Hispanic Society
Pricilla E. Muller and Marcus B. Burke

The painter Joaquin Sorolla
Edmund Peel

Sorolla
Trinidad Simo

Quote
“All the mistakes committed by artists are due to their having separated themselves from truth, believing that their imagination is stronger. There is nothing stronger than nature. With nature in front of us we can do everything well.” ~ Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

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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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