Marguerite Stuber Pearson (1898-1978)

Marguerite Stuber Pearson (1898-1978)

Marguerite Stuber Pearson was a firm proponent of the Boston School tradition, characterized by her mastery of academic technique and the selection of traditional subjects of portraiture, figures in interiors and still lifes.  In her debut exhibition at the Guild of Boston Artists in 1931, one reviewer happily reported that her paintings were “executed in the best Boston School tradition.” Upon seeing the show, Edmund Tarbell (1862-1938) wrote to Pearson, “We are glad that you stick to the Boston tradition, and we look to you to uphold it, which you have more than done and are still doing.” [i]

[i] “The Art Week,” Boston Globe, 1931, and Tarbell to Pearson, 1931, both quoted in “Marguerite S. Pearson 1898-1978,” (unpublished ms. Vose Galleries).

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Pearson grew up wanting to become a concert pianist, but in 1915 she contracted polio during a summer vacation in Maine.  During her recovery she took drawing lessons from Boston illustrators Charles Chase Emerson (1871-1921) and Harold N. Anderson (1894-1973).  In 1919, Pearson embarked on the rigorous seven-year painting course at the Museum School, where she received criticisms from Frederick Bosley (1881-1942), Philip Hale (1865-1931) and Tarbell. She worked and taught in a fourth-floor studio in the Fenway Studios building from 1930-1942, a studio previously occupied by Aldro Hibbard (1886-1972), with whom Pearson painted during summers in Rockport, Massachusetts, as she expanded her repertoire to include landscapes of Cape Ann.  In 1942, she moved to Rockport to live year-round and became an active member of the Rockport Art Association. Today she is best known for paintings featuring women playing musical instruments in elegant, light-filled interiors as well as for her still lifes.

References: Judith A. Curtis, “Exponents of the Boston School,” in American Art Review 12, no.2 (2000):186-193; and Marguerite Stuber Pearson Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Jarzombek, “Mary Bradish Titcomb and her Contemporaries” in Mary Bradish Titcomb (1858-1927) / Fenway Studios (Boston: Vose, 1998).

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