Walter L. Palmer (1854-1932)

Walter L. Palmer (1854-1932)

Born in Albany, New York, Walter Launt Palmer was the son of sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer, and followed in his father’s creative footsteps, although he took to the brush rather than the chisel. Portrait painter Charles Loring Elliot was an early supporter of the youth’s talent, giving him his first set of paints and brushes, and in the summer of 1870 Palmer began studying with Frederic Edwin Church, who wrote of his progress just one year later: “Wallie is the coming man so far as I can see and I would like to be of use to him before he gets so far advanced as not to require my aid.” 

He exhibitied at the National Academy, the Pennsylvania Academy and the Society of American Artists. Working in both oil and watercolor, Palmer’s innovative play of light and color, especially in his use of blues, purples and greens in the shadows, were admired by fellow artists and critics. He recieved numerous accolades throughout his career including becoming a full Academician in 1897 after recieving their Hallgarten Prize in 1887. Today a number of important institutions have examples of his work among their collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Albany Institute of History and Art, and the Memorial Art Gallery at Rochester University.

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