Agnes M. Richmond (1870-1964)

Agnes M. Richmond (1870-1964)

Agnes M. Richmond was born in Alton, Illinois and began her training at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts prior to moving to New York in 1888.  In New York, she enrolled at the Art Students League where she studied under John Twachtman, Walter Appleton Clark and Kenyon Cox.  She would later teach at the league from 1910 until 1914. 

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Richmond settled in Brooklyn, New York, where she and her husband, the WPA muralist Winthrop Turney, found inspiration and friendship with a group of New York realist painters including George Luks, Charles and Alice Beach Winter, and John Sloan. In the summers, Richmond and Turney would make painting trips to Mountainville, New York, and also to Gloucester, Massachusetts, joining John Sloan at his red cottage on East Main Street, a house he began renting in 1914 and where the New York group would congregate for painting and recreation over the next five years. Appropriately, they became known as the Red Cottage Group; a photograph in the collection of the Cape Ann Historical Association shows Richmond in the company of John Sloan, Stuart Davis, Paul Cornoyer and several others on Sloan’s porch. After 1919, as the Cape Ann region became overrun with artists, Sloan stopped coming to Gloucester, and the Red Cottage Group eventually disbanded, but continued to associate with each other in New York.

Richmond produced still lifes, landscapes and city views, but became best known for her impressive portraits of women, often placed in landscapes or settings that reflected their circumstances, and imbued with an energy and depth beyond the canvas. With a vibrant, engaging palette and impasto brushwork, she captured not just their likenesses but also personified the role of women in changing times. In the 1914-1915 Woman’s Who’s Who of America, it notes Richmond “favors women’s suffrage” and her portraits and figure paintings from the 1910s and 1920s certainly reveal her subjects’ sense of pride and confidence.

Richmond was made a member of the National Association of Women Artists in 1905 and received the Watrous Figure Prize in 1911. She also belonged to the Allied Artists of America and the Brooklyn Society of Artists.  She was a long time exhibitor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design and the Society of Independent Artists, and also showed at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

References: See Who Was Who In American Art (1999).; Art by American Women, Selections from the Collection of Louise and Alan Sellers (Gainesville, GA: Brenau College, 1991); Rocky Neck Art Colony, Judith A. Curtis (Gloucester, MA: Rocky Neck Art Colony, Inc., 2008); American Women of the Twenties, an Exhibition of Paintings by Agnes M. Richmond (1870-1964), Jeffrey Alan Gallery, New York, NY, 1981.

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