George Loftus Noyes (1864-1954)

George Loftus Noyes (1864-1954)

Born in Ontario to American parents, George Loftus Noyes moved back to America with his family when he was nine, settling in Cambridge. He attended the Massachusetts Normal Art School and apprenticed as a glass painter before going abroad in 1890. He enrolled at the Académie Colarossi in Paris to further his academic training, but found time to explore the French countryside with fellow American students and discovered his love for painting landscapes en plein air.  Noyes traveled through Algiers and visited Italy before returning to Boston in 1893. He exhibited regularly at the Boston Art Club, showing his Algerian paintings as well as more local subjects, and also with the Boston Society of Water Color Painters. In 1900, Noyes established his own summer school of painting in Annisquam, along the North Shore, where his best-known students were illustrators N. C. Wyeth and Clifford Ashley. He married Mabel Hall of Newtonville, Massachusetts, in 1903, and for the next three years taught painting and drawing at the Leland Stanford School of Art at Stanford University in California, returning to Annisquam every summer. 

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Noyes had his first one-man exhibition in Boston at the Hatfield Gallery in 1906. He gained recognition for his still lifes and richly-colored New England landscapes, and was praised for his color work and ability to paint sunlight. A 1907 Boston Sunday Globe reviewer writes, “He is essentially a painter of summer scenes, and sunshine. He has caught one of the most difficult knacks in art, of representing atmosphere and sunlight with a fidelity that makes the impalpable real. To see a canvas of his depicting a hot day is to feel the heat and see its crinkling waves in the panting air.[1] Noyes showed regularly at the Copley Gallery and the Guild of Boston Artists. He moved into Fenway Studios in 1907, stayed there until 1910, and subsequently established a studio on Boylston Street. In 1915, he won a silver medal from the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and shortly afterwards, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston purchased his painting Gloucester Wharves.

In the early 1920s Noyes traveled frequently to Palermo, Sicily, where his younger brother Edward had settled, and exhibited his Italian subjects in Boston. In 1930, now approaching his seventies, Noyes and his wife moved to Winter Park, Florida, and later to Braden, Vermont.  Sadly, in 1939 a fire destroyed hundreds of his paintings that were stored in a barn there. Noyes passed away in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in 1954 and was honored by the Guild of Boston Artists with a retrospective exhibition in 1955.

Vose Galleries has handled work by George Noyes for decades, including four exhibitions: two during his lifetime in 1911 and 1923, and two major retrospective exhibitions in 1987 and 1998.

References: Falk, Who Was Who in American Art, 1999; The Glow of Sunlight, Paintings by George L. Noyes (1864-1954),  exhibition catalogue, Vose Galleries, 1998.


[1] Boston Sunday Globe, November 24, 1907, p. 11.

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