Harry Franklin Waltman (1871-1951)

Harry Franklin Waltman (1871-1951)

While Harry Waltman was a distinguished artist of his time, his name is surprisingly little known in today’s fine art circles. He was a prolific landscape and figure painter who exhibited extensively, showing nearly eighty works at the National Academy of Design over a fifty year period. His subject matter ranged from portraits of Esquires to landscapes of Vermont’s Green Mountains, but very few of these pieces have found their way to the market. 

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Waltman was born and raised in Ohio, but received training at the Art Students League in New York and at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC, as well as with Jean-Paul Laurens and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant at the Académie Julian in Paris. This comprehensive academic background provided the artist with a strong foundation in draftsmanship and color theory, and his works received admittance to some of the most prestigious venues in the United States. Working primarily from his New York City studio, and later in Dover Plains, New York, by the mid-1920s, Waltman exhibited at a number of local galleries, including Milch Galleries, Ferargil Galleries and Howard Young Galleries, and became an associate member of the National Academy in 1917. He was also a member of the Salmagundi Club, the Allied Artists of America and the National Arts Club, and expanded his exhibition circuit nationally by participating in shows at the Society of Washington Artists, the Washington Art Club, the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Salons of America.

Known for his bucolic landscapes painted in all seasons, Waltman was especially admired for his transcriptions of the beauty of winter, which were inspired by his trips to Vermont and by his surroundings in upstate New York. In a review of a two-person show at Ferargil Galleries in January 1923, American Art News called his cold weather subjects “typical of the best of American landscape in this genre,”[1] and five years later writer Eliot Clark included Waltman in his article on American painters of winter published by Scribner’s: “Harry Waltman likewise paints the protected places of winter, where the brook winds under snow-covered banks and fir-trees find a friendly home. He is fond of the grays of winter, the variations within a dominant hue, and echoes something of the aesthetic charm of Twachtman. His pictures have style and distinction.”[2]                 

Waltman earned several accolades during his long and successful career, including two prizes from the Salmagundi Club, the first in 1909 and the second in 1916, a prize from the National Arts Club in 1927, and an award from the Stockbridge Art Association in 1938.  Today his works can be found in collections of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, the National Academy of Design Museum in New York City, and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio.

[1] “Two Painters at the Ferargil,” American Art News, January 13, 1923, p. 2

[2] “American Painters of Winter Landscape,” by Eliot Clark. Scribner’s Magazine, December 1922, pp. 763-768

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