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Vose History
From the Archives
"Tales of an Art Dealer"
Frank W. Benson Catalogue    Raisonné
The Carrig - Rohane Frame Shop
John J. Enneking (1838-1916)
Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908)
Charles Woodbury (1864-1940): Ogunquit Teacher
Test Your Knowledge: Vose Crossword Puzzle
Alexander James (1890-1946): An Artist's Correspondence
Lilla Cabot Perry (1848-1933): Boston Impressionist
Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924)
John Marin: The Ancient Marin-er
Andrew Winter (1893-1958): Artist of Monhegan Island
Arthur Prince Spear (1879-1959): Painter of Poetry
William Horton (1865-1936): American Impressionist
C. E. L. Green: Lynn Beach Painter
Lilian Westcott Hale (1881-1963) and her Dedham Home
Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828): Father of American Portraiture
Edmund Tarbell (1862-1938) and his New Castle Home
Mary Bradish Titcomb (1858-1927): Painter of the North Shore
Ernest Albert (1857-1946) and Vose Galleries
Aldro T. Hibbard (1886-1972) and Vose Galleries
Leslie Prince Thompson (1880-1963): Boston School Painter
Frederick A. Bosley (1881-1942) and Vose Galleries
Hermann Dudley Murphy (1867-1945) and Vose Galleries
Arthur C. Goodwin (1864-1929) and Vose Galleries

The Carrig - Rohane Frame Shop

Hermann Dudley Murphy (1867-1945)
Moonrise on the Lagoon, Venice, Italy, Ca. 1908
Oil on canvas, 25 1/8 x 30 1/4 inches
Monogrammed lower left
Carrig-Rohane frame #724, dated 1909

By the late nineteenth century in America, the art of framing had been reduced to a mass produced, uninspired style. Marlborough native Hermann Dudley Murphy, through his Carrig-Rohane frame-making shop, did more than anyone else to elevate the level of craftsmanship in current frame production.

After studying at the Boston Museum School, Murphy traveled to Paris where he made an influential friendship with James Abbott McNeill Whistler, an American artist and avid frame-maker who believed “…that frame and painting should harmonize in color and in style and that the integrated unit should in turn harmonize with the room in which it was placed.” Upon returning to America in 1897, Murphy, discouraged by the poor quality of the frames he was able to obtain commercially, decided to buy materials and teach himself how to carve and gild. After experimenting with frames for his own paintings and receiving high praise for them, he decided to open his own frame shop. In 1903 he created the Carrig- Rohane shop (named after the Irish town of Murphy’s father and meaning “Red Cliff” in Gaelic) which focused on producing the “finest possible hand-carved and gilded frames, custom designed for the paintings they were to enclose.”

Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858-1925)
Breath of Spring
Oil on canvas, 29 x 33 inches
Signed and dated lower left: W. L. Metcalf 1919
Carrig-Rohane frame

By 1906 Carrig – Rohane had expanded to include fellow American artists and expert carvers Charles Prendergast and Walfred Thulin. The magazine International Studio called them the “Boston group” of frame-makers—“the first serious attempt in this country to restore the picture frame to something of its old-time honor and to introduce the spirit of individual artistic responsibility.” As if to reiterate his belief in the artistic value of the frame itself, Murphy became the first American framer to sign and date the back of each frame produced. The ideology behind each Carrig- Rohane frame is best exemplified by the words of Charles Prendergast: “Good work compels respect, and if the craftsman wishes to take a higher rank, he must become an artist as well.”

John J. Enneking (1841-1916)
Autumn Symphony, 1889
Oil on canvas, 22 x 30 inches
Signed and dated lower right: Enneking 89
Carrig-Rohane Frame (dated 1926, #4330)

As the years went by, Murphy realized he was spending most of his time taking care of the business side of the shop, which did not leave much time for painting and designing frames. Thus, in 1915 he asked his friend, the Boston art dealer Robert C. Vose, to take over the managerial role of the shop, though it would remain with the same name and in the same location. This arrangement continued for some years until the decade following the Great Depression when the cost of high-quality frames was no longer feasible. The style of C-R frames also did not fit the bourgeoning abstract movement of painting. The remaining operations moved to Vose Galleries and were eventually shut down in 1939. The legacy of Carrig- Rohane frames carries to this day, with many beautiful “CR” frames, and the works within them, still passing through our doors.

References: Vose, S. Morton, II. "The Carrig-Rohane Shop, Inc. Boston." Vose Archive
Barol, Bill. "The Carrig-Rohane Frame." American Heritage Dec. 1989: 30.

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John J. Enneking (1838-1916)

Few artists in the world had such a keen sense for all the varying beauties of nature; for the seasonal changes in our New England landscape; for the rich color of our Autumns; for the soft greens of our Spring; for the mystery and atmospheric depths of the Northern Winter, and for the poetry of everything in nature.*

- A.J. Philpott, John J. Enneking obituary, Boston Globe, November 17, 1916

Indian Summer, Clarendon Hills
Oil on canvas, 22 x 30 inches
Signed lower right: Enneking 95

Landscape painter John J. Enneking was undoubtedly one of the most celebrated New England painters of the twentieth century. At the age of 74, he was honored as a “supreme artist” at a testimonial dinner attended by more than 1,000 colleagues and supporters at the Copley Plaza Hotel. Known for his strong personality, his work was often thought to reveal his idealism and love of freedom.

Born in Ohio in 1841, the same year that Vose Galleries opened its doors, Enneking developed an interest in art while living with his aunt in Cincinnati. During this time, he was introduced to master works and encouraged to attend Mount St. Mary’s College to study painting. Unfortunately, his studies were cut short by the Civil War, in which he fought and sustained a severe injury. After being honorably discharged, Enneking moved to Boston in 1868 where he married, ran a wholesale hardware business, and further studied painting and lithography.*

Funded by artwork sales, Enneking took his family to Europe in 1872 to pursue the development of his painting. Among his travels throughout Europe, Enneking studied for six months at the Munich Royal Academy, though would eventually settle in France. While in Paris, he completed a three year study under the famous figure painter León Bonnat and befriended several Barbizon painters including Millet, Corot, and Daubigny.

In addition to his studies under Bonnat, and a mentorship with Daubigny, Enneking spent considerable time with the legendary impressionist painters Monet, Renoir, and Manet. His years in France exposed him to the various developing styles of the era, putting him at the forefront of a historic transformation in painting. Enneking was not a copyist, however, but perfected his own style to such an extent that those conversant with his technique can identify his works without hesitation. Robert C. Vose (1873-1964), a young art dealer during Enneking’s later years, wrote about his style:

He loved Autumn with her glorious auburn tresses, and he loved Twilight, from her flaming sunsets, to her tenderest afterglows, for his keen senses thrilled with love of color… equally delightful are his groups of Trout Brooks, Pastorals in Blossom Time, and Mountain Views. Last, chronologically, and dearest to the artist’s own heart, are the “Moods,” a lovely series of impressions of nature, subtle, subjective, tonal harmonies, which will take high rank in American Art.

Blossoming Trees along a Hillside
Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
Signed and dated lower right: Enneking '98

Upon his return to Boston, Enneking set up a studio on Tremont Street next to Childe Hassam and George Fuller. Enneking’s new landscapes showcased his impressionistic influences, and he exhibited extensively in Boston’s lively art world, to great critical acclaim.

Enneking’s love for nature was demonstrated not only in his paintings, but also in his involvement in the Boston community. Strongly tied to his local surroundings, Enneking was a devoted conservationist and acted as chairman of the Park Board during the end of his career. In 1967, Enneking’s efforts were rewarded when State Representative Michael Feeney renamed a section of the Turtle Pond Parkway in Hyde Park the Enneking Parkway. In addition, he worked with the Twentieth Century Club, Pudding Stone Club, Hyde Park Historical Society, Boston Art Club, Paint and Clay Club of Boston, and the Guild of Boston Artists.*

In 1915, Enneking was honored at a testimonial dinner attended by more than 1,000 friends, colleagues and admirers, given at the Copley Plaza Hotel. Vose Galleries retained their devotion to the artist even after his death and has held six solo shows since 1916. In the 1917 memorial exhibition at Vose Galleries, twenty-seven landscapes were hung, sold out, re-hung with an equal number, and sold out again.

A living example of his own words, Enneking believed the artist should be a well-rounded and engaged member of the local community. He completed over 300 canvases throughout his career- illustrating his dedication to his work and subject matter. Through both his landscapes and active role in the community, Enneking helped people see and preserve the beauty in the surrounding landscapes.

*Henderson, John, and Roger Belson. "John Joseph Enneking Biography." White Mountain Art and Artists. Web. 08 Dec. 2011. .

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Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908)

Letter from A.T. Bricher to S.M. Vose
dated June 25, 1878

At the age of fourteen, Alfred Thompson Bricher left his hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts, and went to Boston to work as a clerk in a dry-goods store. He took art classes at the Lowell Institute in his spare time, and quickly became entrenched in the art community. During his early career, Bricher made sketching trips through the Catskills in New York, the upper Mississippi River and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. By 1858, he had met Charles Temple Dix (1838-1873) and William Stanley Haseltine (1835-1900) while in Mount Desert, Maine. Bricher took up regular trips to Mount Desert Island with Haseltine. It became a popular spot for regional artists to work, including Fitz Henry Lane.

The following year Bricher established a studio in Boston, “up two or three pairs of stairs over the Merchant’s Bank [28 School Street]”. In 1862 he was in the newly-built Studio Building, which at that time was also home to fellow landscape painters Martin Johnson Heade, William Bradford, George Inness and Samuel L. Gerry. His time in Boston also exposed him to the work of Fitz Henry Lane, whose tranquil marine paintings were on display at the Boston Athenaeum.

In 1868 he moved to New York City and joined several professional art organizations, including the American Society of Painters in Water Colors and the National Academy of Design. His watercolors brought great success, and he easily supported himself through the sale of his work.

By the mid-1870s, he began to concentrate on marine paintings of the New England coastline, a subject for which he is now best remembered. For nearly forty years, Bricher traveled to the same locations, exploring the effects of the changing atmosphere on the sea during all times of day and all seasons. As art historian Jeffrey R. Brown notes, Bricher’s “world consisted of an endless series of lonely cliffs, summer boarding houses, coach cars, steamers, and cold winters in a New York studio.”

Nineteenth-century Vose Galleries’ proprietor Seth Vose, a great admirer of Bricher’s work, handled his paintings from as early as 1862, buying ten to twenty pieces at a time! Through hard work and the encouragement of fellow artists and dealers, Bricher became one of the most well-known and widely collected marine painters of his day. Bricher was also promoted by Springfield, Massachusetts, dealer James D. Gill, who sold many of his paintings to George Walter Vincent Smith. A group of these works remain in the Vose Galleries collection today.

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Charles Woodbury (1864-1940): Ogunquit Teacher

Two Lifegaurds
Oil on canvas mounted to board
12 x 17 inches, Circa 1926

A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, Charles H. Woodbury showed an aptitude for the arts at an early age and joined the Lynn Beach Painters when only sixteen. Although a junior member of the group in terms of age, Woodbury was in many ways its leader, having exhibited the first Lynn Beach painting at the Boston Art Club in 1882. He had already become the youngest elected member of the club when only seventeen, and Woodbury continued to have further success exhibiting and teaching throughout his career, even becoming a full National Academician in 1907.

Woodbury received a strong introduction to watercolor painting when he took drawing lessons from Ross Sterling Turner at MIT in 1882. He graduated from MIT with a degree in engineering, but took a studio on School Street in Boston and began exhibiting his paintings. During this time he also began teaching painting classes in the Boston area and was working as an illustrator for Harper’s Monthly Magazine and Century Magazine.

The Motor Boat
Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 inches
Signed lower right: Charles H. Woodbury, 1917

In 1890 Woodbury married one of his students, Marcia Oakes, and traveled to Europe, where Woodbury studied at the Académie Julian. Upon their return to the United States, the artist built a studio in Ogunquit, Maine, and eventually established a successful artist colony there as painters were drawn to his summer school. Rather than focus on technique in his lessons, Woodbury emphasized expression and careful observation in his teaching. These attributes are clearly illustrated in his powerful seascapes; while retaining a traditional subject matter, they show a daring and experimental use of form and vivid color. His approach was also revolutionary, instructing his students: “We [paint pictures] primarily because we want to put into visible form some thought or feeling we have in the presence of our subject….”* Working with nearly 100 students each summer, Woodbury taught by example and individual criticism, eventually publishing his own book, The Art of Seeing, in 1925. In addition to his 36 years of instruction in Ogunquit, Woodbury also held positions at Wellesley College and the Worcester Art Association.

Woodbury’s early membership to the Boston Art Club was just the first of many such associations; Woodbury was a member of the Copley Society, the Boston Watercolor Club, the Boston Society of Water Color Painters, the Guild of Boston Artists, and in 1907 was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design. He continued to travel throughout his life, visiting Europe over 18 times, and traveling with his good friend Hermann Dudley Murphy to Jamaica and St. Thomas. Today, his works are held in an endless list of collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Boston Public Library.

*Charles H. Woodbury. Painting and the Personal Equation. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1919) p.95.

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Test Your Knowledge: Vose Crossword Puzzle

Do you know the name of the artist who was considered the Dean of the Cape Ann School? How about Bill Vose's real first name? Click here to challenge your art-historical knowledge and familiarity with Vose Galleries with this fun new addition to our website!

To see the answers to this puzzle, click here.

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Alexander James (1890-1946): An Artist's Correspondence

Woodstock Street, Woodstock, NH
Oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches
Signed lower right: Alexander R James / 1917

See on the walls of this gallery not merely pictures painted in oils on canvas, but human personalities recreated and intensified by the hand of an artist trained to consummate craftsmanship in the service of a sensitive and penetrating power of vision. Here, by the grace of Alexander James, people reveal themselves.*
– Rockwell Kent

Alexander Robertson James was born into a family of creative genius, the youngest son of philosopher William James and nephew of noted writer Henry James. He was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and studied at the Boston Museum School under Frank W. Benson. James later married Frederika Paine and moved with his new bride to California, where the couple spent the first two years of their marriage. Success in lucrative portrait commissions came easily to James, but the demands of this career did not suit his temperament. At the suggestion of James’ mentor Abbot Thayer, the James family returned east in 1918 and settled in Dublin, New Hampshire. Dublin was already an established art colony where Thayer was a leading figure, and James studied for six years under his tutelage.

James spent nearly all of his time in Dublin with the exception of a reprieve in 1931 when he went to Richmond, New Hampshire, and painted for a full year in solitude. From 1930 until 1937 he mainly focused on painting portraits; today, his most famous portraits include George de Forest Brush in the collection of the Fogg Art Museum and Portrait of a Professor owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. James is also well known for his impressionists-inspired landscapes and genre scenes, capturing the local farmers, woodsmen and hunters of New Hampshire.

James was a longtime exhibitor at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. He was also a member of the Century Association. Today his works can be seen at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Fine Art in Missouri.

*As quote in Alexander James. Thorne-Sagendorph Memorial Gallery. Keen State College, Keene, N.H.

Barbizon Plaza Hotel
101 West 58th Street
Central Park South
New York

February 28, 1941
Dear Mr. Vose:

Your kind inquiry of February 24th has been forwarded to me here. I greatly appreciate the confidence you have in my painting. It is with honest regret that I must tell you that other work which I have arranged for will prevent my undertaking commissions of any kind for another year or longer.

It is bad luck for me to be having good luck at this time in another direction!

With all thanks again, and my good wishes,

Sincerely yours,
Alexander James.

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Lilla Cabot Perry (1848-1933): Boston Impressionist

Lilla Cabot Perry, like many women artists overlooked by twentieth century art historians, has only recently been given the attention she is due. During a career spanning many decades, she built an oeuvre of which Frank W. Benson said, “There was never truer, more direct and sincere painting.”

The daughter of a Lowell and a Cabot, both prominent Boston Brahmin families, Lilla Cabot wrote poetry as a young woman and was known in Boston circles as a socialite. In 1874 she married Professor Thomas Sargeant Perry, a writer and intellectual, and devoted herself to what would become a family of five. Her interests in fine art peaked at the age of 36 when she enrolled in painting classes at the Cowles School in Boston and studied under Dennis Bunker and Robert Vonnoh. Her studies continued in Paris, where she moved with her family in 1887, and included time at both the Académies Colarossi and Julian. In 1889 she met Claude Monet at Giverny, and spent the next nine summers there with her family, usually renting property adjacent to Monet’s.

Woman Seated in Front of a Chinese Screen
Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches
Signed upper left: L. C. Perry

Perry became one of Impressionism’s earliest proponents in America. From Monet himself she learned to capture in bold strokes and color the sprawling landscapes of the French countryside, and she was equally capable of translating this skill to figural works and the American landscape. During the early 1890s, Perry worked determinedly to promote Monet’s work in the United States, organizing his first exhibition in Boston at the St. Botolph Club. Conversely, a painting by Perry remained the only work by an American artist to hang in Monet’s home in Giverny.

In 1898 Thomas Perry took a teaching position at the Keiogijiku University in Tokyo, and the entire family moved there for three years. After they returned and settled in Boston, Perry rented a studio in the Fenway Studio Building, and the family spent summers in Hancock, New Hampshire. Perry’s technical skill and focus on figural subjects, as evidenced in Woman Seated in Front of a Chinese Screen, placed her in the top tier of artists painting in the Boston School tradition at the turn of the century. She immersed herself in the Boston art world, and became a founding member of the Guild of Boston Artists. A review of one of Perry’s exhibitions at the Guild reveals that, “she sat like a queen receiving the homage of her subjects, her wit and animation as animated as ever- the personification of the ageless artist– an inspiration!”

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Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924)

As a small child, Daniel Ridgway Knight was determined to become an artist, but the path to his successful career was not without obstacles. Born into a Philadelphia Quaker family, Knight was discouraged from such superfluous recreations as music and fine art, with his father deeming these “pursuits of light-minded and fast-living people.”* He took an apprenticeship at a Quaker hardware business as a young man, but Knight privately filled his hours copying images from books and developing his drawing skills. Fortunately, his grandfather realized his talent and convinced Knight’s unenthusiastic parents to allow him to enroll at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Like so many young students, Knight then traveled to Paris to further his education. In 1861 he enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts and then joined the atelier of Charles Gleyre, studying alongside Renoir and Sisley, and later continuing his training in Venice at the Accademia di San Luca.

With his studies complete, Knight returned home to a country occupied by war, and in 1863 he enlisted with the Union Army. Establishing himself as a portrait and genre painter, Knight remained in Philadelphia for eight years, founding the Philadelphia Sketch Club, and saving to return to Paris in 1871. He eventually settled with his family in the little town of Poissy along the banks of the Seine, and remained in this area for much of his career. The commissions of his Philadelphia patrons had kept Knight well versed in portraiture, floral scenes, genre and historic paintings, but it was this new life in the French countryside that quickly brought the artist to discover his subject matter of choice: young peasant women in an outdoor setting. Over the ensuing years as an expatriate artist, his academic plein air paintings of peasant girls at their leisure and of idealized country life became overwhelmingly popular. Girl Knitting is a prime example of this style, combining his adeptness at crisply depicting the human figure with a plein air approach to the French landscape.

While this subject matter is reminiscent of such masters of French Realism as Jean Francois Millet (1814-1875) and Bastien Lepage (1848-1884), Knight did not ally himself with this socially-minded tradition of painting. He abstained from commenting on the plight of the peasant folk, and instead depicted the members of this class in idyllic beauty, never showing his subjects laboring over more than a pail of milk or a pair of knitting needles. Many of his sitters are captured in Knight’s own garden overlooking the river Seine, and it is for this formula of depicting a radiant young woman surrounded by outdoor splendor that Knight is so well known. He was very much an academic as opposed to a socialist, and Knight prided himself in his ability to depict the surrounding landscapes in great detail and accuracy, focusing on the exactitude of color in the foreground and letting it fade into subdued grays in the distance. He was enthralled with the ever-changing effects of light, and worked beginning in the 1890s from a studio constructed entirely of glass at his home in Rollebois. There Knight could complete in comfort and in natural lighting any painting begun out of doors, even developing his compositions in the dead of winter.

Knight’s genre scenes fittingly received international acclaim with awards at the Paris Salon (1888), Paris Exposition (1889), World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), and Antwerp Exposition (1894), as well as inclusion at numerous exhibitions at the National Academy of Design, the Boston Athenaeum and the Pennsylvania Academy. His most celebrated painting, Hailing the Ferry, was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1888, and subsequently made into a lithograph; it became one of the most reproduced 19th century American paintings, and is now in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy.

*Harold T. Lawrence, “Daniel Ridgway Knight, Painter”, Brush and Pencil (January 1901): 195.
References: Falk, Who Was Who In American Art; Harold T. Lawrence, “Daniel Ridgway Knight, Painter”, Brush and Pencil (January 1901): 193-207; William Gerdts Down Garden Paths: The Floral Environment in American Art; Phoenix Museum, Americans in Brittany and Normandy; Michael Quick, American Expatriate Painters of the Late Nineteenth Century.

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John Marin: The Ancient Marin-er

Leave it to the true creative artist – he’ll find a place for the stones and weeds of life in his pictures… to sing its music with color, line and spacing upon its keyboard…the picture appears – a work of art tells the story the best, it transcends the factual.*

- John Marin, December 10, 1946

Small Point, Maine
Watercolor on paper
15 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches
Signed lower right: Marin 15

A true pioneer of American modern art, John Marin broke through the traditionally naturalistic approach to depicting the Maine landscape and introduced the art of abstraction to the rural state. Although not a native, Marin dedicated much of his career to capturing Maine’s shores and islands, and took to calling himself the “Ancient Marin-er.” He developed an almost spiritual bond with the ocean over his forty summers there, and worked from such locales as Small Point, Stonington, Cape Split, and even his own Marin Island.

Marin enrolled briefly at the Art Students League in 1902, followed by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1886, and studies abroad in 1905. His earliest works were surprisingly Whistlerian in style, consisting of finely executed architectural etchings. It was the influence of Cubism, however, that was the driving force behind Marin’s work, made evident by his later, and more popular, New York cityscapes and Maine seascapes.

Marin began working in watercolor during 1911 and chose Alfred Stieglitz’s “291” Gallery as his primary New York venue, displaying his watercolors alongside works by Braque, Cezanne and Matisse. Three years later, Marin made his first visit to West Point, Maine, and began his second major series of watercolors. Small Point, Maine dates from 1915, his second summer on the coast, and exhibits an emphasis on economic brushwork instead of an attempt to create the illusion of space. He adamantly opposed the mere copying of an image, and instead translated his observations into a unique visual language, often working animatedly with a brush in each hand. Marin abhorred studio work, and considered the ferocious Maine mosquitoes as the better of two evils when compared to working indoors. His paintings are therefore the result of his immediate response to his surroundings- uncalculated, expressive and brimming with life in their careful balance of color and form.

After years of exhibiting internationally, Marin’s work became sought after by museums across the country during the 1930s. In 1936 the Museum of Modern Art in New York held his first retrospective, and within ten years the Institute of Modern Art in Boston followed suit with a second retrospective that traveled to museums in Washington and Minneapolis. Marin’s fame continued as he was voted America’s “Artist No.1” by Look Magazine in 1948, the same year that MacKinley Helm published his biography. This endless publicity and praise never pulled him away from the Maine landscape; in 1938, Marin wrote to Alfred Stieglitz about the draw of his adopted state:

Old Mistress – Maine – She makes you to lug–lug–lug– she makes you to pull–pull–pull– she makes you to haul–haul–haul– and when she’s thrashed you a plenty – between those thrashings, she loves, she smiles, she’s beautiful…the big and mighty Atlantic.**

*John Marin: A Retrospective Exhibition 1947, Institute of Modern Art, Boston.
**John Marin, letter to Alfred Stieglitz, August 28, 1932, Paintings of Maine, Ed. Arnold Skonick, Chameleon Books, 1991.
References: John Marin and the Sea, Kennedy Galleries, 1982; John Marin: A Retrospective Exhibition 1947, Institute of Modern Art, Boston; John Marin Drawings, University of Utah, 1969; Awash in Color, MFA Boston, 1993.

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Andrew Winter (1893-1958): Artist of Monhegan Island

Many of America’s most revered artists have painted their finest works on the diverse island system off the coast of Maine, including Winslow Homer from his home on Prout’s Neck, and Childe Hassam from his summer school on the Isle of Shoals. Andrew Winter, a rugged and often solitary figure, found inspiration from the harsh island life of Monhegan Island, and sought to capture even the cruelest conditions with his paints. In his Self-Portrait at Below Zero, Lobster Cove, now in the permanent collection of the Farnsworth Museum, Winter portrays himself in his glory; gloved hands grip a paint-laden brush, while rosy cheeks and lividly red nose peak out from below a heavily brimmed hat.

This stoic figure was a veritable installation on the island after 1936, when Winter settled on Monhegan year-round with his wife and fellow artist Mary Taylor, and, ironically, cultivated a fondness for painting in winter. Weather permitting, the artist often set out in his small rowboat, venturing to capture the coastal terrain from the most dramatic vantage points. Gull Rock, Monhegan, is likely among these works and depicts the island’s most southeastern tip from an offshore location. Winter’s powerful brushwork carves out the surface of the rock face, and the somber palette seems to explore an interest in the contrast of values.

The rugged sea that surrounds the mere square mile of Monhegan was not unfamiliar to Winter. A native of Estonia, the artist began his career aboard square riggers while just a teenager, and soon became a roving mariner aboard American and British steamships. In 1921 he achieved United States citizenship and briefly severed his ties to the ocean by enrolling at the National Academy of Design. He won the Mooney traveling fellowship to Rome and returned to New York to discover critical acclaim over the ensuing years.

Winter’s rough exterior, when combined with his artistic inclination, puzzled many of his acquaintances. A 1937 review in The Philadelphia Ledger commented on the artist’s unusual appearance: “Winter’s arms, heavily tattooed with mermaids, geisha girls, dragons, sea-horses, tropical birds and bathing beauties of all climes and races, have not interfered with his strenuous rise to artistic fame.”* While the island life offered complete isolation, he maintained ties to numerous galleries and associations, and received awards at the Pennsylvania Academy, the National Academy and the Salmagundi Club, among others. His oil and watercolor paintings were exhibited across the country at such venues as the Corcoran Gallery, Currier Gallery, Cranbrook Academy, Art Institute of Chicago, Ogunquit Art Club, and Babcock and Grand Central art galleries of New York. Winter held membership to the American Watercolor Society, the National Academy, the Salmagundi Club, and the Allied Artists of America.

In mid career, Winter abandoned New York to return to the sea, fully immersing himself in the life and landscape of the island. His oils of Black Head, Manana, Pulpit Rock, Lobster Cove and other familiar scenes of Monhegan are currently held in numerous public and private collections nationwide, including the Marine Museum, the National Academy, the Pennsylvania Academy, the Cranbrook Academy and the Mint Museum of Art.

*As quoted in Pamela Belanger, Maine in America: American Art at the Farnsworth Art Museum, University Press of New England (Hanover: 2000) p. 142.
References: On Island: A Century of Continuity and Change, The Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine, June-October, 2000; Maine: 100 Artists of the 20th Century, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine, June-September, 1964; Pamela Belanger, Maine in America: American Art at the Farnsworth Art Museum, University Press of New England (Hanover: 2000).

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Arthur Prince Spear (1879-1959): Painter of Poetry

The realm [Spear] chooses to depict is quite his own. No one would dare to essay those particular fancies in which mermaids, lady fauns, nymphs, sprites and other delicious creatures ecstatically swing and sway, or whisk across idyllic scenes....The result is a vindication of scenes of the imagination with highly decorative and pictorial effects...[that]seem like stirrings of a remote consciousness, expressions of an inward feeling.

-- Boston Transcript, 1925, review of Vose Galleries’ Arthur Spear exhibition

Arthur Prince Spear was trained at some of the most prestigious institutions of his time, including the Art Students League of New York and the Académie Julian of Paris. Under the guidance of instructors such as Jean Paul Laurens, Spear developed an impressionist-inspired style which he brought back with him to the United States in 1907. He joined the Fenway Studios building in Boston, and executed soft, loosely painted landscapes and genre scenes until 1915. At this point his style underwent a drastic transformation, and he began painting the subjects for which he is best known: mythological nudes, imaginary landscapes and underwater scenes.

In 1921 Hearst’s Magazine dubbed Spear the “painter of poetry.” The Spindrift was executed in August of 1925 during this period of imaginative works. In this oil, Spear has personified the common nautical term spindrift, or sea spray, as a graceful sea nymph perched above the blowing surf. The model is his daughter Louise, who frequently sat for her father’s sketches. A pastel version of The Spindrift is noted in Spear’s record of paintings, and at the time of his son’s 1981 publication, Arthur Spear: 1879-1959, it remained in the Spear family collection. In Arthur Spear, Jr.’s book, Louise reminisces about modeling for her father in his Friendship, Maine, studio each summer. Spear would work during the best part of the day, from eight until noon every morning, all the while entertaining his sitters with witty songs and poems. He was an avid sailor, carpenter and fisherman, and often joined his friend and fellow Boston painter Leslie Prince Thompson to fish after a morning of painting.

To supplement his income, Spear taught life drawing at the Fenway School of Illustration, and in his own studio during the 1930s, which was then located in his Brookline home. Spear enjoyed great success as both artist and teacher. In 1920 he was elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design, and exhibited there as well as at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Corcoran Gallery. He exhibited locally at the Copley Gallery, the Guild of Boston Artists and Vose Galleries, with exhibitions of pastels and oils in 1924 and 1925, respectively.

Spear was greatly impacted by the Depression and the lack of a market for impressionist oil paintings. He turned to lithography for a brief period, employing two or three young students in his Ipswich Street studio. Sometime in the 1940s Spear gave up his artwork entirely, giving his materials away to young painters at the St. Botolph Club. Oddly, he destroyed many of his own works at this point, feeling that he would prefer not to have his reputation based upon pieces of lesser quality. Regardless of this rash act, the city responded positively to Spear’s oeuvre and held retrospectives of his works in celebration of this local artist both before and after his death at the Guild of Boston Artists and at the St. Botolph Club.

References: See Who Was Who in American Art (1986); Arthur Spear, Jr., Arthur Spear 1879-1959(1981).

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William Horton (1865-1936): American Impressionist

He has been the first American artist to educate himself with the Impressionists, and to be their best disciple.
Paris Soir, as quoted in The Wonderful World of William S. Horton: American Impressionist (1865-1936), Vose Galleries of Boston, 1966.

A friend and admirer of Claude Monet, William Horton devoted his life to investigating the principles of Impressionism. His interests in light, color, and atmosphere were ever present in his work, but Horton developed his own unique interpretation of his mentor’s philosophy, incorporating a vivid color sense unlike any of his contemporaries’.

A rebel by nature, Horton had furtively painted with oils as a youth, hiding his craft from unsupportive parents who destroyed his canvases and materials. By the age of twelve, his persistence had paid off, and Horton began teaching drawing and painting to local students. He took the position of illustrator for North West Magazine just two years later, and eventually studied at the Art Students League, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Académie Julian in Paris.

The Setting Sun, Gstaad
Oil on canvas, 35 1/2 x 42 1/2 inches
Signed lower right: William S. Horton

While raised in the Midwest, Horton’s home base was Paris for the majority of his career. He was happily married to a New York debutante, and he and his wife traveled extensively, allowing the artist to capture the landscapes of the United States, England, Spain, and Switzerland, among many other foreign locales. He dedicated his career to investigating those subjects which most appealed to him, repeating views of the New York City skyline and English beaches in particular. Monet deemed him the “greatest painter of snow who ever lived,”* and the ski villages and peaks of Gstaad, Switzerland, were among his favorite subjects. Of these works Monet said: “…it is difficult enough to find one attractive subject and draw it well…it is a waste to draw innumerable subjects.”** This explains Horton’s concentration on certain challenging studies, his views of Gstaad in all light, all seasons. He explored the landscape in both sun and moonlight, blanketed by sparkling snow or brimming with luscious greenery. His brushwork developed a pointillism reminiscent of Pissarro, but Horton’s dazzling color was always uniquely his own.

Although comfortable financially for most of his life, Horton was no dilettante; he worked constantly, and showed continuously at numerous galleries and exhibitions. He received critical acclaim both in the United States and abroad, and was a frequent exhibitor at the Salon des Indépendents, the Salmagundi Club, Durand-Ruel and Macbeth Galleries.

He died in 1936, having created over 1,000 oils and numerous drawings, pastels and watercolors. Because Horton often refused to sell his favorite pieces, his son inherited a large estate of some of his best works, which he cherished and held on to for thirty years. In 1966 Vose Galleries became the sole agent for the Horton estate in America, and held the first exhibition of his work, The Wonderful World of William S. Horton, American Impressionist (1865-1936), which traveled throughout the country. Today, Horton’s work is held in several major museums worldwide, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Columbus Museum of Art and the Musée Carnavale in France.

*William Horton exhibition catalog, Vose Galleries of Boston, undated.
**Vose Galleries exhibition catalog, The Wonderful World of William S. Horton: American Impressionist (1865-1936), 1966.
References: Vose Galleries exhibition catalog, The Wonderful World of William S. Horton: American Impressionist (1865-1936), 1966; Adrian Bury, William S. Horton, 1865-1936, A New Look in Impressionism, exhibition catalog; Undated and untitled Vose Galleries exhibition catalog; Adrian Bury, The Art of William S. Horton, reprinted from The Connoisseur Year Book , 1959.

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C. E. L. Green: Lynn Beach Painter

A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, Charles Edwin Lewis Green became one of the founders of the Lynn Beach School of painters, active from 1882-1897 on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Alongside fellow artists Edward Burrill (1835-1913), William Burpee (1846-1940), T. Clark Oliver (1827-1892), Edward Page (1850-1928) and Charles Woodbury (1864-1940), Green was instrumental in developing a unique style of regional Impressionism. As with “Hauling in the Boats,” this approach focused on the picturesque beaches of Lynn and Swampscott and the active fishing communities of the North Shore.

Green had started out as a businessman and did not begin to paint professionally until after the death of his father in 1881. By 1883 he had a studio on School Street in Boston and held his first exhibition at the Boston Art Club. Primarily self taught, Green’s work was greatly affected by a brief trip to Europe in 1889. There, he discovered the coastal artist colony of Newlyn in Cornwall, England, and was introduced to the en plein air techniques made popular by the French artist Jules Bastien-Lepage. Like Bastien-Lepage, the artists of Newlyn emphasized working in the open air and painting the daily activities of the village people. Even after his return to Lynn in 1890, Green continued to work in this manner and became well known for his active shoreline scenes and landscapes portraying his interest in light and atmospheric conditions with notoriously dramatic skies.

The influence of French Impressionism was not only felt by Green, but by all of the Lynn Beach Painters, as foreign works appeared in the local galleries and exhibitions. Unfortunately, the group faltered around the turn of the century, when the picturesque coastline of Lynn was defaced by modern developments. Green continued to work both in watercolor and oil, and exhibited often at the Boston Art Club from 1882 until 1907. Even during his trips abroad, he maintained a presence in Boston, exhibiting at the St. Botolph Club and the Eastman Chase Gallery. He was also an active member of the Paint and Clay Club and showed at the Lynn Art Club. While he developed a local group of loyal patrons, his works were also collected by such figures as Martin Brimmer, the first president of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and by the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes.

References: Frederick Alan Sharf and John Hardy Wright, C.E.L Green: Shore and Landscape Painter Of Lynn and Newlyn. (Salem: Essex Institute, 1980); Janice H. Chadbourne, Karl Gabosh and Charles O. Vogel, The Boston Art Club Exhibition Record 1873-1909 (Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1991); Falk, Who Was Who In American Art (1999).; Rolf H. Kristiansen and John J. Leahy, Rediscovering Some New England Artists 1875-1900 (Dedham, MA: Gardner-O’Brien, 1987).

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Lilian Westcott Hale (1881-1963) and her Dedham Home

Her technique gives to surfaces a delicate beauty that is a constant source of delight to the perceptive eye of the beholder. For Mrs. Hale is not just a painter, but an artist, with a vein of quiet pure poetry in her work, which, in this respect at least, lifts her above all but a very few of her contemporaries.
-William A. Coles, “An Appreciation of Lilian Westcott Hale”

Spring by the Wayside, Dedham, Massachusetts
Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches
Signed lower left: Lilian Westcott Hale

Lilian Westcott Hale came to Boston after William Merritt Chase encouraged her to further pursue her art studies. While a student of the Hartford Art School in 1899, Hale had attended Chase’s Summer School in Shinnecock, Long Island. She then followed his suggestion to enter the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, enrolling in an advanced painting class with Edmund Tarbell. She was first introduced to faculty member Philip Hale in 1901, and the two married just a year later. Philip was fifteen years her senior and already a well established professional artist and teacher in the Boston area. Acting as her mentor, Philip encouraged and supported Lilian’s considerable talent, and in 1905 they moved into two adjacent studios at the Fenway Studios on Ipswich Street, numbers 210 and 211.

Lilian’s work flourished after completing her studies at the Museum School. She held her first solo exhibition in 1908, nearly selling out the show even before the opening, and was applauded by collectors and artists alike for her carefully drafted drawings and pastels. Her exhibition circle included a range of Boston venues, such as the Guild of Boston Artists, St. Botolph Club, Copley Society, and Boston Art Club, as well as such New York locations as Arlington and Grand Central Galleries. She was particularly praised for her expressive portraits, executed in a manner characteristic of the Boston School tradition, but often with a unique, granulated surface reminiscent of pastel work. Her landscapes, with their Japanese-inspired compositions and patterns were also commended both nationally and locally. Hale was awarded a bronze medal in the Buenos Aires International Exhibition in 1910, a gold medal and medal of honor for drawing in the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ Beck prize in 1923, and prizes from the National Academy of Design in 1924 and 1927.

After the birth of their daughter Nancy in 1908, the Hales rented and then purchased a home in Dedham, Massachusetts. A few renovations converted a large parlor into a multi-windowed studio for Lilian. Their home, “Sandy Down,” acted as the setting for many of her interior scenes, and the vantage point from her studio window became a particular favorite from which to paint. Lilian was known as an adept gardener, and many of the landscapes executed from her studio feature her prize-winning gardens and the neighboring houses beyond. Spring by the Wayside depicts this view from her studio, looking out towards a white, multi-gabled home in the distance as a young girl rounds the corner of Highland Avenue and Lowder Street.

Lilian was accepted as a National Academician in 1931, the same year Philip Hale passed away. Devastated, Lilian continued to work after a brief respite, but her ambition was greatly depleted. In 1955 she moved to Virginia to be closer to her daughter, and contently worked on portraits of her family, often summering in Rockport, Massachusetts, with her sister-in-law. In 1963 she traveled to Italy for the first time and died unexpectedly after her return.

References: Erica Hirshler, “Lilian Westcott Hale,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Boston University, 1992; American Art Review, Vol. XI No. 2, 1999, “Life and Work of Lilian Wescott Hall” by Joan Archer; Who Was Who in American Art, 1999.

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Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828): Father of American Portraiture

The son of a snuff miller recently arrived from Scotland, Gilbert Stuart grew up in Rhode Island at a dramatic time in American history. He was a charity scholarship student for a few years, and studied locally with a Newport artist named Cosmo Alexander, with whom he traveled to Edinburgh as a teenager. Alexander died there suddenly, precipitating Stuart’s return to America after a brief and painful effort to support himself. He returned a year later to begin his career as a portraitist, but at the outset of the Revolution his loyalist family moved to Canada. He, however, caught the last boat to London out of Boston Harbor before the battle of Bunker Hill.

In London he was eventually befriended and influenced by expatriate American painter Benjamin West, with whom he stayed for five years. West immediately recognized Stuart’s talents as a portrait painter, and took him into his studio as Chief Assistant. After his first success at the Royal Academy in 1782, Stuart began to command higher prices for his works than any portraitist in London, apart from the court painter Sir Joshua Reynolds. An inept businessman, Stuart spent his earnings frivolously and was hounded by debts, causing him to flee to Ireland in 1787. He lived comfortably in the Dublin area for a time, painting figures of nobility, and came to dominate the Irish market for portraiture. His daughter, Jane Stuart, remarked to William Dunlap in a letter of 1834, that “The love for his own country, and his admiration of General Washington, and the very great desire he had to paint his portrait, was his only inducement to turn his back on his good fortune in Europe.” In 1793 he returned to America, hoping to paint Washington and other leading members of the new country.

As Stuart had hoped, his career flourished with his famous portrait of George Washington in 1794, and while he painted many of the prominent members of society, he devoted equal care to his portraits of lesser-known subjects. Stuart was a rapid and prolific worker, which may explain the spontaneity and brilliance of his portraits. He was said to be eloquent but cranky, irreverent yet well mannered, and he kept his sitters constantly entertained with his charming speech and antics. He displayed great insight into his subjects’ personalities, and many letters and references of the famous men of his day attest to their warm regard for him.

Vose Galleries has handled over 70 works by Gilbert Stuart since its founding in 1841, including portraits of George Washington, members of the Irish aristocracy, and United States generals. Spanning much of his career, these records attest to the breadth of his work and the incredible demand for it. Dubbed the “Father of American Portraiture” by his contemporaries, Gilbert Stuart completely dominated his field from the close of the Revolution until his death in Boston in 1828. His reputation has only grown since then; in 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art organized a comprehensive exhibition of Stuart’s portraiture.

*Gilbert Stuart: Portraitist of the Young Republic. National Gallery of Art, 1967.
References: Lawrence Park, Gilbert Stuart: An Illustrated Descriptive List of His Works, Volume I, No. 526, New York, William Edwin Rudge, 1926. Antiques & the Arts Weekly, May 13, 2005. Vose Archives, unpublished notes.

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Edmund Tarbell (1862-1938) and his New Castle Home

The island [New Castle] was, and still is, almost totally free of trees, allowing for wonderful vistas. And when the light sparkled off the water, an impressionist painter couldn’t find a better place to be.
- Edmund Tarbell*

The Jockey
Oil on canvas, 25 x 27 inches

While American Impressionist Edmund Tarbell is best remembered as the leader of the Boston School or “Tarbellite” painters, his heart was very much devoted not to Boston, but to the coastal village of New Castle, New Hampshire. Tarbell was first introduced to the quaint fishing community along the Piscataqua River when he and his wife honeymooned there in 1888. Captivated by the coastal landscape and colonial architecture that also attracted Childe Hassam and Alfred Bricher, Tarbell soon began to travel up from his suburban home in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to spend his summers by the water. By 1894, he was teaching summer courses there with Frank Benson in addition to instructing at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and had made New Castle his primary home by 1906.

Tarbell had first met Frank Benson when they studied together as teenagers at the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Otto Grundmann, and their friendship was cemented in 1883 when they both traveled to Paris to enroll in the Academié Julian. Fifteen years later, the two artists, along with such figures as Joseph DeCamp and John Twachtman, founded a group which they entitled “The Ten.” Consisting of painters who had seceded from the Society of American Artists in protest to the lessening standards of the club, the group exhibited their Impressionist works in numerous New York Galleries between the years of 1898 and 1919.

Tarbell’s presence in the Boston Museum School was long felt, but in 1918 he actually left this position to become the Director of the Corcoran School of Art. His accomplishments continued on over the course of his career to include exhibiting internationally at the Paris Salon as well as nationally at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the National Academy of Design, with his works earning a number of medals and awards. His success as a portraitist also spurred such important commissions as portraits of Presidents Hoover and Wilson, but he is best remembered for his thoughtful depictions of women caught up in their domestic tasks, and dappled with sparkling sunlight.

In 1926, Tarbell retired to his New Castle home, the setting for some of his best known interior scenes and landscapes. During his career both at the Boston Museum School and the Corcoran School of Art, New Castle had remained an important subject for his oils. Tarbell had added a simple studio to the property in 1907, with a deck stretching out over the riverbank, and by this time, the family was spending up to 8 months out of each year in New Castle, with Tarbell commuting via the Portsmouth train to Boston. The Dock, New Castle, New Hampshire focuses on the riverbank beyond this studio, yet Tarbell approached such landscapes in much the same manner as he did his acclaimed figurative works. He was able to create an object of imminent beauty out of a common, everyday subject.

*“Edmund Tarbell: A New England Painter and the Family that Inspired Him,” Art and Antiques, Jan. 1993.
References: Impressionism Transformed: The Paintings of Edmund C. Tarbell. The Currier Gallery of Art, 2001.

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Mary Bradish Titcomb (1858-1927): Painter of the North Shore

Although she taught drawing for many years at the Brockton public schools, it wasn’t until age 44 that Mary Titcomb began to pursue a career as a professional artist. She began her studies at the Boston Museum School, under Tarbell, Benson and Hale, and was an enthusiastic, prize-winning student. She exhibited early on with fellow students Lillian Westcott, Edith Scott and Gretchen Rogers, and received encouragement at her very first show from Philip Hale. In 1908, after six years at the Museum School, Titcomb moved into the lively Grundmann Studio building. With neighbors Martha Silsbee, Jean Nutting Oliver, Gertrude Fiske and Marion Pooke, she was part of a vital community of hard-working, serious-minded women artists that flourished in Boston in the first few decades of the twentieth century.

Titcomb was active in the Copley Society and exhibited widely, both in Boston and in national exhibitions, sometimes showing in as many as a dozen annual exhibitions each year. When Grundmann Studios was torn down in 1917, Titcomb moved to Fenway Studios, where she maintained a studio until the end of her life. Titcomb fully immersed herself into Boston’s artistic community, exhibiting at the Guild of Boston Artists, the Copley Society, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Athenaeum. She was also a member of the National Association of Women Artists, and showed her work nationally with five like-minded women artists, including Jane Peterson, Laura Coombs Hills, Elizabeth Roberts, Lucy Conant and Margaret Patterson, who called themselves “The Group.”

As early as 1902, Philip Hale noted a connection between Titcomb’s work and the ideas of Arthur Wesley Dow. After her first show with the Students’ Club at the Boston Museum School, Hale mentioned her work in his newspaper column: “a very pretty Japanese arrangement- rather in the style of Arthur Dow tendency I should fancy by Miss Titcomb.” In this subtle bird’s eye view of houses in Marblehead, one of Titcomb’s signature subjects, flattened rooftops take on a graphic, two-dimensional feel, reminiscent of Dow’s woodblock prints. The buildings are used not only to convey a place, but also as a compositional element that leads the viewer through the painting- from the vibrant greenery of the trees to the docks and atmospheric hillside beyond.

Titcomb spent most of her summers sketching and painting in East Gloucester, Provincetown and Marblehead. In 1920 she bought a house in Marblehead at 33 Front Street, where she lived until her death, and became a founding member of the Marblehead Art Association.

References: Jarzombek, Nancy. Mary Bradish Titcomb and her Contemporaries: The Artists of the Fenway Studios 1905-1939. Vose Galleries of Boston, 1998.

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Ernest Albert (1857-1946) and Vose Galleries

Perhaps the most outstanding exhibition of the works of a single artist in the last season is the display of paintings by Ernest Albert, A.N.A. There can be no doubt concerning the right of Albert to the signal honor. His works have won for him the recognition of the most powerful organizations in the world of art. The most valued connections in this respect are his associations with the National Academy of Design, his appointment as honorary vice-president of the Allied Artists of America and his life membership in the National Arts Club.

- The Brooklyn Citizen, November 20, 1927

Ernest Albert Brown won the prestigious Graham Art medal given by the Brooklyn School of Design at the age of fifteen. Born and raised in Brooklyn, the young artist found his first full-time employment in 1877 with the Brooklyn Theatre under Harley Merry, a well-known scenic painter, working on stage backdrops. This was the beginning of a forty-year successful career in theatre design and scenic painting that made Albert’s name famous in New York, Boston, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago, London and Montreal. Ernest Albert Brown changed his name to Ernest Albert in 1879, for, as he wrote to his new fiancée Annie Maxwell, “My present name is killing me. My other is as attractive as any in the country. There is no use waiting any longer. I wish I had done so long ago. I tell you, Darling, people look at a name.”

Throughout Albert’s scenic design career, he found some time to paint landscapes, exhibiting often at the St. Louis Sketch Club. In 1881, the exhibition theme was “Symphony in Color” and a local critic wrote, “Mr. Ernest Albert, the scenic artist of Pope’s Theatre, and who is a candidate for admission to the club, exhibited a water color landscape…It is carefully painted and was greatly admired as a fine piece of art.” Later that year, Albert wrote to his wife, Annie, that Pope (of Charlie Pope’s Theatre) had loaned him rent-free a room to paint in for “that outside work” which enabled him to paint more landscapes.

Albert’s ability in landscape painting was so tremendous that in one of his heralded stage designs for “The Brook”, which opened in April of 1881 at Charlie Pope’s Theatre, a critic for The Globe Democrat thought the water was real that ran through the painted scene. Albert took great joy in deceiving a critic! The reporter was truly fooled, as the articled stated: “Mr. Albert, the scenic artist of this house, prepared new and beautiful settings for the piece, and with a real stream of water flowing musical through the wooded scene, that stage looked as handsome and real as if some pleasant bit of woodland and brookside had been transplanted…”

Albert continued to exhibit and paint, sporadic as it may have been, and during the next few years had paintings hung in the Western Artist’s Exhibit, Salmagundi Club and various associations. In 1887, Ernest Albert found time to paint a rare portrait of his daughter, Edith Dorothy, which was exhibited under the title "Dorothy" at the World’s Fair. He was also an active member in many art associations, being a founding member of the American Society of Scenic Painters, and its third Vice-President, as well as a member of the Chicago Society of Artists. By 1908, Albert and his artist son, Maxell Albert actively painted together and ventured for the first time into Old Lyme, Connecticut, to be a part of the artist’s colony that flourished there. During their summer stay, they boarded at the famous colonial house of Miss Florence Griswold, and spent many weeks sketching the countryside. Both men joined the Old Lyme Art Association and could discuss “pigment and palettes with fellow painters.”

Winter Morning
Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 inches
Signed Lower Right

1909 for Albert meant a time of change, as his family responsibilities had lessened and his children were grown. Albert was tired of having his scenic paintings destroyed – and liked the idea of a more permanent art – that of landscapes on canvas. Following his creative impulse, it took him four years to achieve isolation from the theatre world to that of his own new venture. It was a great financial risk, which to him was well worth a try, always knowing he could return to his scenic art career. The canvases he created in the Old Lyme area were often exhibited back in New York, and one was accepted in 1913 by the National Academy of Design. Albert went on to form the National Society of American Artists, later named the Allied Artists of America, and eventually became the president. The first exhibition of the group was held in 1914 with well-known exhibiting members such as John F. Carlson, Edmund Greacen, F. C. Frieseke, F. E. Church, Emil Carlsen, Bruce Crane and Robert Vonnoh.

Recognition and success came by exhibiting at such places as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, California; the New York Water Color Club; the Old Lyme Art Association; the Art Institute of Chicago and the Salmagundi Club. Feeling like a well-established and “legitimate” painter, he put aside thoughts of his former profession, and the family moved out of the city to New Canaan, Connecticut, to be in the country. In 1917 the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts accepted a large picture into their winter exhibition, and Albert was proud that a very discriminating jury had chosen his work. That same year, a painting entitled “Ten Below Zero” was shown at the Loeser Exhibition in Brooklyn, New York, and earned him a reputation for painting beautiful impressionist winter scenes with such success that thereafter he painted many varying sizes.

Albert was active in the New Canaan Society of Artists, who often held their exhibitions in his “Red Barn Studio” and in later years at the Silvermine Guild of Artists. In 1921 he was elected to the National Arts Club as a Life Member, and perhaps his greatest personal honor was an invitation to the National Academy of Design as an Associate Member (A.N.A). Finances during this period were low, and the decline of Annie’s health was hard on Albert and the family. In April of 1922 came “a friendly letter from Mr. Vose, his Boston dealer, enclosing a check in the amount of $600 for a painting, (which) afforded a bit of much needed relief and encouragement.” The change from theatre scenery to landscape painting had not proved easy. In January of 1924 Albert wrote, “We work every day in the little studio (in New Rochelle ‘village’ – shared with his son Bill) and it is saving my life. Work keeps me from thinking and that helps. Otherwise I would go nutty. Besides I must work to get stuff to try to sell. I said try, that doesn’t mean that I succeed but we always jolly ourselves in thinking so. It helps…”

Following the death of Albert’s dear wife, Annie, Albert moved into the Arts Studio Building, Studio #31 and continued to exhibit in the city. In 1927 the Herald Tribune gave a good review of Albert’s one-man exhibition at the Babcock Galleries in New York. They thought him “a sensitive observer whose feeling for his charming scenes is expressed through an accomplished technique…” During the next decade Albert’s paintings sold sometimes well, other years very poorly because of the severe economic hardships of the era. He did not live to see the continued success and renewed appreciation for his poetic paintings that was to come about. Albert died at age 89 in 1946 and was buried in New Canaan’s Lakeview Cemetery, next to his beloved Annie. After the death of Ernest Albert, his family collected the remaining paintings left in galleries and held onto them privately until the first public exhibition at Vose Galleries in 1981.

Excerpts reprinted with permission from the privately printed book, Ernest Albert, by T.A.V. Du Flon, 1986.

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Aldro T. Hibbard (1886-1972) and Vose Galleries

Canadian Rockies, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches
Signed and dated lower right:A.T. Hibbard '27

Son of a Cape Cod sewing-machine salesman and a spiritualist mother, Aldroandus Thompson Hibbard was named after a sixteenth-century Bolognese artist and naturalist, Ulysses Aldrovandi. After his graduation from high school, he entered the Massachusetts Normal Art School and studied painting under Joseph DeCamp and Ernest Lee Major. Impressed by the young man’s dexterity at drawing, these instructors encouraged Hibbard to become a professional artist. He thus continued his studies with Edmund Tarbell, Philip Hale and Frank Benson at the Boston Museum School in 1910, and was awarded the prestigious Paige Traveling Scholarship just a few years later.

In Europe, Hibbard found inspiration in the luminous works of Monet, Sisley and Pissaro. “Monet,” he said, “made sense. I liked his color separation and the effects he got with it, especially in handling light, and I decided that broken color was for me.”* After his return from Europe, he began to work at the Fenway Studios during the summers, and traveled to Vermont during the winter months, painting the snowy hillsides with thickly applied colors. His works were exhibited regularly at the Guild of Boston Artists, the Boston Art Club, Bromfield Galleries, the St. Botolph Club, and in New York at Grand Central Art Galleries.

Gloucester Harbor
Oil on canvas on board, 18 x 20 1/8 inches
Signed lower right: A.T. Hibbard

Hibbard first visited the popular art community of Rockport in 1919, and established the Rockport Summer School of Drawing and Painting, or the Hibbard School, just a year later. It was around this time that Hibbard first began exhibiting with Vose Galleries of Boston, and formed a close relationship with the Vose family. Robert C. Vose, Jr., well remembered Hibbard: “He was quite a small man who almost broke my hand whenever he greeted me.”** By the 1930s, Hibbard was a permanent resident of Rockport, but the winters of Vermont still called to him each year. He taught for nearly 30 years in Rockport, and was a founder of the Rockport Art Association and an active member of North Shore Art Association, even overseeing the painting of the red Motif #1 each year. Toward the end of his life, Hibbard and his wife, former student Winifred Jackson, gathered many of his early works to establish a public collection at his Rockport studio, making one final contribution to the community of which he was so fond.

*Quoted from: John. L. Cooley.A. T. Hibbard, Artist in Two Worlds.Concord, MA: The Rumford Press, 1968. Page 22.
**Quoted from: New Yorker. Vose Galleries Advertisement. Oct.12, 1987.
References: Erica Hirshler, "Aldro Thompson Hibbard" in Trevor Fairbrother, The Bostonians, Painters of an Elegant Age, 1870-1930 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1986); John. L. Cooley,A. T. Hibbard, Artist in Two Worlds(Concord, MA: The Rumford Press, 1968).

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Leslie Prince Thompson (1880-1963): Boston School Painter

During his time, Leslie “Let” Thompson was one of Boston’s most well-known portrait and still life painters, as well as a respected teacher. He taught at the Boston Museum School from 1913 to 1930, following in the footsteps of prominent Boston School artists Edmund Tarbell and Frank Benson. Born in Medford, Massachusetts, Thompson began his training at the Massachusetts Normal School before entering the Museum School in 1901, where he studied extensively with E.L. Major and Tarbell until 1904.

He won the prestigious Paige Traveling Scholarship, which enabled him to paint in Europe for two years before returning to Boston. During his four years of study under Tarbell, Thompson became immersed in the Boston School style of painting, which stressed craftsmanship and a thorough knowledge of fundamental drawing and painting skills. His contemporaries at the Tavern Club wrote:

As a painter he could not have approached so close to his own ideals without that astonishing ability to observe, his penetrating eye for detail, the exquisite sense of touch and the delicate obedience of his hand.*

Thompson exhibited his work frequently and won several prizes in annual exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy, the Corcoran Gallery, the Boston Art Club, the National Academy, the Newport Art Association and the Art Institute of Chicago. The Chinese Coat is a fine example of the subject matter and “Sargent-esque” Boston School style for which Thompson is best admired. Almost all of the paintings which he exhibited at the National Academy, The Chinese Coat included, were of pretty women in interiors, many with romantic titles, such as The Red Shawl, The Lady and The Parrot and The Fur Collar.

*Quoted from: The History of the Tavern Club of Boston, editor Edward Weeks, p. 106.
References: Who was Who In American Art (1999); Trevor J. Fairbrother, The Bostonians, Painters of an Elegant Age, 1870-1930 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1986) with artist biographies by Erica Hirshler.

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Frederick A. Bosley (1881-1942) and Vose Galleries

Frederick A. Bosley entered the Museum School in 1900 and quickly became a star pupil. He won the Sears Prize in 1904 and the prestigious Paige Traveling Fellowship in 1907, which enabled him to travel to Europe for two years. After his return, he married Emily Sohier and taught painting at the Abbot Academy and the Groton School. Under the influence of teachers Frank Benson and Edmund Tarbell, Bosley combined solid drawing with impressionist brushwork and color. Abbott Thayer was a third influence, especially in Bosley’s interest in the idealized woman as subject matter.

Satin Gown
Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches
Signed lower right: Bosley

Bosley was fully immersed in the Boston art world, being a member of the Guild of Boston Painters and the St. Botolph Club. He lived in Concord, Massachusetts, and Piermont, New Hampshire. He exhibited widely throughout New England and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the National Academy of Design in New York. In 1915 he won a medal at the Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.

In 1912 Tarbell and Benson resigned from the Museum School in protest over an administrative change that effectively placed Tarbell under a new director of the School. Tarbell chose Bosley as his successor, and Bosley assumed the mantle of director of the painting program at the Museum School. He perpetuated the ideals and technical training that Tarbell and Benson had established there. In 1931 Bosley himself resigned in protest over the introduction of modern art into the school program.

References: Frederick A. Bosley, A.N.A. (1881-1942) of the Boston School: Exhibition I. Vose Galleries of Boston. November, 1981.

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Hermann Dudley Murphy (1867-1945) and Vose Galleries

European Courtyard
Watercolor, 13 3/4 x 19 1/2 inches
Signed lower left

Hermann Dudley Murphy was a vital presence in Boston’s art community. He was a member of the Guild of Boston Artists, the Boston Art Club, the Boston Water Color Club, the Boston Society of Water Color Painters, the Copley Society, the North Shore Arts Association, the National Academy of Design and the Salmagundi Club. In 1901 he accepted a teaching position at the Harvard University School of Architecture, where he remained for thirty-six years.

Robert C. Vose was a close friend and admirer of Murphy. In a catalogue for the 1945 “Memorial Exhibition of Paintings by H. Dudley Murphy” at the Guild of Boston Artists, Vose writes:

With the passing of Mr. Murphy, the world of art has lost one of its most delightful members and one of its best influences for technical skill, refinement, and beauty. Mr. Murphy’s early work was influenced by the subtlety of Whistler. His paintings are outstanding examples of conscientious development of perfection in drawing and technique. His rich, luscious flowers in oil are seldom equaled in our generation, and his later work has a technique that is a joy today. His opinions, like his art, were the result of profound study, and when formed, could not be shaken, for his courage was equal to any controversy. His home in Lexington was as perfect an “Arcadia” as humans could desire. I feel his loss as personal, for through a long and intimate acquaintance he won my deep admiration and affection as an artist and a man.

White Roses
Oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 25 inches
Signed upper right: H. Dudley Murphy /
(with monogram)

Murphy attended Boston’s Chauncey School, and in 1886 enrolled in the Boston Museum School where he studied under Otto Grundmann and Joseph DeCamp. He worked for two years as an illustrator for various newspapers and magazines before going to Paris in 1891. He spent five years in Paris at the Académie Julian and exhibited portraits at the Paris Salon in 1895. He and his new wife, Caroline Bowles, returned to the United States in 1897 and settled in Winchester, Massachusetts. Murphy took a studio in the Grundmann Studios building, which also housed the Copley Society and a number of notable Boston artists. Around that time he began designing and carving frames; he moved his studio to Winchester and joined efforts with Charles Prendergast to establish the highly successful Carrig-Rohane frame shop in 1903. They teamed with W. Alfred Thulin until 1912, after which Carrig-Rohane was sold to Vose Galleries.

In 1916, after divorcing Caroline, Murphy married watercolorist Nellie Littlehale Umbstaetter and moved to Lexington. During the middle of his career Murphy painted mainly landscapes, and traveled extensively throughout New England, California, Venice, and Mexico in the 1930s in search of inspiring scenery. His canvases often reflect large open skies that reveal his interest in properties of light and atmosphere. It was not until the last phase of his career that he turned to floral still life paintings for which he is well known.

Murphy’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, where he held a joint exhibition with friend and fellow Bostonian Maurice Prendergast, the National Academy of Design, the Albright Art Gallery, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the St. Louis Art Museum.

References: Who was Who In American Art (1999).; Dora H. Morell, “Hermann Dudley Murphy,” Brush and Pencil 5, no. 2 (Nov. 1899): 49-57.; William Coles, Hermann Dudley Murphy (1867-1945) (NY: Graham Gallery, 1982).; Trevor J. Fairbrother, The Bostonians, Painters of an Elegant Age, 1870-1930 (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1986) with artist biographies by Erica Hirshler. Exhibition catalogue “Memorial Exhibition of Paintings by H. Dudley Murphy, N.A.,” 1945, Guild of Boston Artists.

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Arthur C. Goodwin (1864-1929) and Vose Galleries

New York City Waterfront
Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 30 inches
Signed Lower Left: A. C. Goodwin

Arthur C. Goodwin, whose personality alternated between that of a dandy and a destitute alcoholic, was once known as the "Beau Brummel of Chelsea." Thankfully, when Goodwin was over 30 years old, he discovered a passion for painting. This self-taught American Impressionist emerged as the painter par excellence of the city of Boston.

In 1900, while watching his artist friend Louis Kronberg at work on a pastel, Goodwin remarked, "I think I could do that." Thus began a lifelong love of Boston’s many facets and moods. While seeking in his art a refuge from the cruelty of an impoverished lifestyle, Goodwin captured the city with vivacity, freshness and sensitivity.

Goodwin occasionally worked in his Greenwich Avenue studio in New York City, where he painted familiar scenes of Washington Square, Central Park and Fifth Avenue. Goodwin was inspired by the work of fellow Impressionist Childe Hassam. Goodwin stated, "I just came from a visit to Childe Hassam and he said, ‘Goodwin, you are the greatest painter in Boston.’ As long as those who know feel that way toward my work, I don’t give a damn what the fashion of the day is. I paint what I feel."* Although Goodwin was intrigued by the Impressionist concentration on light, he never ascribed to a particular artist or style.

Boston at Night
Pastel on paper, 17 1/8 x 21 inches
Signed lower right: A.C. Goodwin

In 1911, Goodwin exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with notable Boston School Artists. Soon after, he was accepted into the Guild of Boston Artists, and gained the recognition of such notables as John S. Sargent and Isabella Gardner. He exhibited at the St. Botolph and Union Clubs, Vose Galleries, Copley Society, and the Guild of Boston Artists. He showed for 13 years at many of the important national exhibitions, such as the 1915 San Francisco Exposition, the Pennsylvania Academy, the Brooklyn Museum, the Carnegie Institute, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the National Academy of Design.

Vose Galleries has enjoyed a continued association with A. C. Goodwin, featuring him in three one-man shows in 1920, 1985 and 1988.

*The Sunday Herald Traveler, Sept. 24, 1967, p.15.

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