Ernest W. Longfellow (1845-1921)
Ernest W. Longfellow (1845-1921)Contact Vose about this artist
Read more about this artist...
Born to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ernest Longfellow first pursued a career in mechanical engineering at Harvard before changing course and deciding to become an artist. He went abroad to begin his studies in Paris and returned in 1866 to establish a studio in Boston. That same year, Longfellow received an inheritance from the estate of his mother who sadly passed away in a fire when he was just a teenager. Although the result of tragedy, the fortune gave young Ernest a respite from the worry of relying solely on paintings sales for financial support and he was able to marry Hattie Spelman in 1868. The two honeymooned in Italy and France, where in the latter Longfellow continued his education working under Leon Bonnat and the expatriate G. P. A. Healy, before settling into a home across the street from his father’s Brattle Street address in Cambridge in 1871.
In 1879 Longfellow was elected Vice-President of the Boston Art Club, where he exhibited from 1874 to 1883. He also submitted paintings to several annual exhibitions of the National Academy, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Brooklyn Art Association. The Longfellows never had children and their financial resources allowed them to continue their travels in the years ahead, even journeying to North Africa and Japan. They moved to New York for a time, and spent summers in Magnolia, a coastal community on the North Shore of Massachusetts, where Ernest would paint the scenic shoreline and beaches under expansive blue skies. Longfellow passed away in Boston in 1921, and was given a memorial exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in 1923. He bequeathed a large sum to the Museum as well as a number of paintings done by many of his contemporaries that he had amassed over the years and which still remain in the Museum’s collection today. Examples of his own work hang in the Longfellow House in Cambridge, now a National Historic Site, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.