Daniel Garber (1880-1958)

Daniel Garber (1880-1958)

Daniel Garber was born in North Manchester, Indiana, and received his early training with Vincent Nowottny and Frank Duveneck at the Art Academy in Cincinnati from 1897 to 1898.  A year later he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Anshutz, where he attended evening classes, allowing young Garber to work days as an illustrator and commercial artist. At the Academy, Garber met fellow student Mary Franklin and the two were married in 1901.

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Upon graduation in 1905, Garber was awarded the Cresson Traveling Scholarship which enabled him and Mary to tour England, France and Italy for two years.  When they returned from Europe in 1907, the couple settled into a new home in Lumberville, Pennsylvania, along the Delaware River, that they named “Cuttalossa” after a nearby creek. The lush greenery and farmland of the region inspired Garber to shift his focus to landscape painting. He soon produced brightly colored but skillfully rendered compositions of flowering trees, quiet streams and sun-splashed meadows painted with a unique tapestry-like brushwork. Garber became a member of the second generation of New Hope painters, joining earlier Pennsylvania Impressionists William Langson Lathrop and Edward Redfield, who shared a similar affection for capturing the exceptional scenery of Pennsylvania’s Bucks County.  

In 1909, Garber began a career teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy that lasted nearly forty years.  He was a longtime exhibitor at the Academy and also participated in shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Art Club, and the National Academy of Design, which awarded him full Academician status in 1913. Additionally, he was a member of the Society of American Etchers and the Salmagundi Club, and over his long career, Garber earned innumerable awards and prizes including the 

National Academy’s First Hallgarten Prize in 1909 and the Altman Prize in both 1915 and 1917, the Palmer Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1911, a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, and the Temple Gold Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1919.

While best known for his richly textured landscapes, Garber was equally talented as a portrait and figural painter.  He completed a number of commissioned works of Philadelphia physicians, but his finest figure paintings featured those closest to him: his wife, Mary, their daughter Tanis and son John. They were his favorite models and often posed in their Green Street, Philadelphia, residence, where the family wintered while Garber taught at the Academy, or at “Cuttalossa” in Lumberville during the warmer months. Bayard Beck described these works in a 1920 Art & Life magazine article: “And, although one is apt to speak of landscape as the main objective of his art, with figures subordinated and accessory, Mr. Daniel Garber is, in my opinion, very successful when he chooses as his principal theme an endeared person, achieving then a firm portrait, a real human being living in the presence of real leaves, vines, flowers – the latter not in their turn subordinated or made humble accessories. No: they are also endeared.” [1]

In addition to the institutions mentioned above, Garber’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts among many others. 

References: See Who Was Who In American Art (1999); “Daniel Garber: A Modern American Master,” by Bayard Breck, Art & Life (March 1920): 493-497; Folk, Thomas C., The Pennsylvania Impressionists (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 1997); The Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painting, An Original American Impressionism, exhibition catalogue (Allentown, PA: Allentown Art Museum, 1984).

[1] “Daniel Garber: A Modern American Master,” by Bayard Beck, Art & Life (March 1920), p. 495.

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