Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Women as Artists


Looking back over the field of art for the past five centuries, one cannot fail to be impressed by the exceeding scarcity of men and women who have attained enduring eminence as painters of portraits. Though in every exhibition of current work numerous portraits are shown, few are found worthy of prominent preservation, and the painters who can be counted upon for worthy productions can equally be enumerated. One of those who to-day holds pre-eminence is Cecilia Beaux. Comparison is often made between her work and that of Sargent Most critics think her work is more studied but equally strong.

Cecilia Beaux 1855 ~ 1942
Cecelia Beaux is a dramatist in her studies of character and her art is probably more subtle and more various than that of any woman painter who has devoted her life to portraiture. Her work is modern in every way. Her handling is broad and strong. Many of her touches seem most accidental, while they are of the highest art. Miss Beaux is one of those painters who seem to have arrived almost abruptly on a plane of exceptional accomplishment. Few better works has she produced than those exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1896, which took the French critics by storm, and brought her the honor of Associate Membership in the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Her portraits of the daughters of Mr. Richard Watson Gilder and the portrait of Mr. Gilder were considered of masterly interpretation. There is one portrait wherein Miss Beaux actually created personality. This was her portrait of John Paul Jones, which was presented by the Class of 1881 to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Katharine Augusta Carl 1865 ~ 1938
Born in Louisiana; daughter of Francis Augustus Carl, Ph. D., LL.D. and Mary (Breadon) Carl. She was graduated from the State College, of Tennessee, at Memphis, with the degree of M.A., and afterward studied art in Paris under Bouguereau, Jean Paul Laurens and Gustave Courtois. She first exhibited in the Paris Societe des Artists Francais, in 1887, received honorable mention from that society in 1890, and was made an associate of the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris, in 1894. Miss Carl is a painter of portraits and figure paintings, and has painted many notable subjects, among whom was the late Empress Dowager of China. The Empress Dowager conferred upon her the orders of officer of the Double Dragon and the Manchu Flaming Pearl. She wrote and illustrated an account of her life in the Imperial Palace, of China, which was published under the title of "With the Empress Dowager of China." Miss Carl is a member of the International Society of Women Artists, London; Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris, and of the Lyceum Clubs of London, and Paris.

Charlotte B. Coman 1833 ~ 1924
Mrs. Coman was born in Waterville, New York; studied in Paris under H. Thompson, and Emille Vernier; exhibited in Paris Salon, St. Louis World's Fair, and various exhibitions in the United States Received bronze medal at the California Mid-winter Exposition, prize at Woman's Art Club, member of New York Water Color Society, Art Workers' Club and Women's Art Club. "A French Village" exhibited at the Paris Exposition in 1878, "Near Fontainebleau," "Sunset at the Seaside" exhibited in Boston in 1877, "On the Borders of the Marne" and "Peasant Home in Normandie," are among her best works.

Amalia Kussner Coudert 1875 ~ 1932
Is a miniature painter. Born March 26, 1875, in Terre Haute, Indiana. Daughter of Lorenz Kussner. Married July 3, 1900, in New York City, to Charles Dupont Coudert. In 1896 went to London and painted the portrait of the King (then the Prince of Wales) and many of the prominent people of England. In 1899 was summoned to Russia to paint portraits of the Emperor and Empress and of the Honorable Cecil Rhodes, in Africa.

Susan Hale 1833 ~ 1910
Born in Boston, December 5, 1833. Daughter of Nathan and Sarah Preston Everett Hale. Artist in water colors. Exhibitor of landscapes in Boston and New York. Author of "Life and Letters of Thomas Gold Appleton"; also "Family Flight," Series of Travels for Young People. She wrote in connection with her brother, Edward Everett Hale.

Miss Avis Hekking
Born in New York City, daughter of J. A. Hekking, the well-known landscape painter, who came to America at an early age. Miss Hekking's great-great-grandfather was sergeant-major under General Putnam, and served through the Revolutionary War, distinguishing himself in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. Her family are all artists, several of her brothers have won world-wide reputations as violoncellists.
Miss Hekking studied in Paris under Pourtois Debat-Ponson and Blanc; became a pupil of M. Lange. Later she accompanied her parents to Florence, Italy, where she worked in her father's studio, painting several portraits and historical pictures. In her leisure hours she wrote plays. Of late years she has worked steadily at painting and literature and sends, annually, a picture to the Fine Arts Exhibition in Florence.

Mrs. William Henry Horne
Mrs. William Henry Home was born at Eliot, Maine, the daughter of Lizzie Young and John Harrison Mathes. She was educated in Portsmouth and Boston, and studied art in Boston, New York and in the studio of W. D. Tenney with whom she painted for twenty years.
Mrs. Home is the vice-regent of the John Paul Jones Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, member of the Twentieth Century Club of Boston, The Fathers' and Mothers' Club, The Copley Society, and is a well-known artist of Boston and New York where her work is frequently exhibited.

Mary L. Macomber 1861 ~ 1916
Born at Fall River, Massachusetts, August 21, 1861; daughter of Frederic W. and Mary W. Macomber; studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and under Dunning, Duveneck, Crowningshield and Grundmann. Exhibited at The Hague, Carnegie Institute, Chicago Art Institute, Chicago World's Fair, St Louis Exposition; National Academy of Design, Society of American Artists, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Boston Art Club, Copley Society; received Dodge Prize at the National Academy of Design, honorable mention at the Carnegie Institute, medal at Massachusetts C. M. Association, 1895; medal at Atlanta Exposition, 1895; is represented in the prominent collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Her work, accompanied by articles, has been reproduced in the New England Magazine and other current periodicals. Member of the Copley Society, Boston.

Florence MacKubin 1857 ~ 1918
Born in Florence, Italy. Daughter of Charles Nicholas, of Maryland, and Ellen M. Fay MacKubin. Painter of miniatures, and exhibitor at all of the large expositions. Selected by Governor Smith and the Board of Public Works of Maryland, in 1900, to paint the portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria (after whom Maryland was named), to be hung in the State House. This was executed in a copy of the portrait by Vandyck, in Warwick Castle, England. Also painted the portrait of Governor Lowndes, to be hung in the executive chamber in the Maryland State House; the portrait of Professor Basil Gildersleeve, for the University of Virginia, and a miniature of Cardinal Gibbons; and portraits of the first and second Barons of Baltimore, founders of Maryland.

Anna Lea Merritt 1844 ~ 1930
In the front rank of our noted women painters stands Anna Lea Merritt, who is as well known in England as in her own country. She was not taught in schools, and to this fact is probably attributable the great individuality conspicuous in her works. She belongs to no particular religion in art, and attended no school or class, but diligently attended Mr. Marshall's lectures on anatomy, a subject to which she devoted much attention and study. She had a few lessons from Professor Legros and from Mr. Henry Merritt, whom she afterwards married; also from Mr. Richmond, R. A., and from Mr. William Roxall, R.A.
Much of Mrs. Merritt's work has been in portraiture. She did some decorative pictures for the Woman's Building, Chicago World's Fair, and later frescoed St. Martin's Church, at Chilworth. Mrs. Merritt was at one time a member of the Painters' Etchers' Society, and has exhibited many original etchings.

Rhoda Carleton Marian Holmes Nicholls 1854 ~ 1930
Born in Coventry, England; daughter of William and Marian Holmes; studied at Bloomsburg Art School, and at the Circle Artistic, Rome; married to Burr H. Nicholls, in 1884; exhibited at the Royal Academy, London; Dudley Gallery, London; also in Rome, Turin, Milan, and all current American exhibitions. Received Queen's Scholarship London; medal at Prize Fund Exhibition New York; medal at Boston Biennial Exhibition, Chicago World's Fair, 1893; medal at Charles-ton Exposition, at the West Indian and Interstate Exhibition Nashville, at the Pennsylvania Art Exposition, St Louis Exposition; represented in Boston Art Club, Boston Museum of Art; illustrated (in collaborntion) Powell's Venetian Life; is author of articles in the Art Exchange, Art Amateur and Ceramic Studio; member of the National Arts Club, New York; was vice-president for nine years of the Water Color Club, of New York; member of the American Society of Miniature Painters, Pen and Brush Club, Woman's Art Club, (of which she is a member of the Art Committee), Art Club, of Canada. Nineteenth Century Club. Her address is 913 Seventh Avenue, New York City.

Violet Oakley 1874 ~ 1961
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, 1874; studied at the Art Students' League in New York, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Howard Pyle; in Paris, under Raphael Collin and Aman Jean; has exhibited extensively throughout the United States; received gold medal for illustrations, St. Louis Exposition, 1904; also medal for mural decoration at the St Louis Exposition; gold medal of honor at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1905; is represented in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; member of the Society of Illustrators, New York Water Color Club, fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Water Club, and Plastic Club, of Philadelphia.

Emily Sartain 1841 ~ 1927
Born in Philadelphia; daughter of John and Susan Sartain; studied engraving under her father; also at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia; and under Christian Schuessele; and in Paris under E. Luminais; exhibited at the Paris Salon and in all prominent exhibitions of the large cities of the United States; received medal for oil painting at the Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1876; the Mary Smith Prize at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; medals for engravings at the Atlanta Exposition and Pan-American Exposition; member of the International Bureau of Awards, the Art Department of the Chicago World's Fair, chairman of Artists' Committee officially in charge of Pennsylvania State Building, Chicago World's Fair; art delegate to the International Congress of Women in London, in 1899; afterward delegate to represent the United States at International Congress on Instruction in Art, Paris, 1900 and Berne, Switzerland, 1904; member of the Advisory Committee, Art Section, St. Louis Exposition, 1904; for many years was the only woman mezzotint engraver in the world; has been principal of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women since 1886; president of the Plastic Club, Philadelphia, and vice-president of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia.

Harriet Sartain 1873 ~ 1957
Born in Philadelphia; daughter of Henry and Maria Sartain; studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women exhibited in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia Art Club, New York Water Color Club, American Water Color Society, Chicago Art Institute, Chicago World's Fair, St Louis Exposition; instructor of drawing and water color in the Philadelphia School of Design for Women since 1893; director of the Art Department of Swarthmore College 1902; instructor in art at Pocono Pines Assembly, summer schools at Naomi Pines, Pennsylvania; member of the Plastic Club of Philadelphia and alumnae of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women.

Carrie M. Shoff
Mrs. Carrie M. Shoff was born in Huntington, Indiana, April 2, 1849, invented a method of manufacturing imitation limoges, largely used in the manufacture of advertising signs and in cheaper wares.

Emily Maria Scott 1832 ~ 1915
Born at Springwater, New York; daughter of Thomas Lawrence and Almira Spafard; studied at the National Academy of Design, and at the Art Students' League, in New York, and in Paris under Raphael Collin. Married to Charles Scott, in 1860; exhibited at the Paris salon in 1886, and Paris Exposition in 191 1. Appears in all the current exhibitions and expositions held in the United States. Received gold medal at Atlanta Exposition; honorable mention at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901; represented in the Erie Public Library; vice-president New York Water Color Club; member of American Water Color Society and National Arts Club, New York.

Eugenia Shankland
Is a member of the "Order of the Visitation" in Wilmington, Delaware, and is the daughter of Manning R. Shankland. She is an artist of some note, painting a number of fine altar pieces for several of the churches of the Capital City, and her copy of Washington, in the room of the vice-president at the United States Capitol, has attracted much attention.

Annie C. Shaw 1852 ~
Born at Troy, New York, 1852; lived for some years in Chicago studying art under H. C. Ford; in that city she was elected an associate of the Chicago Academy of Design, in 1873, and an academician, in 1876, the first woman upon whom the distinction has been conferred. Among her paintings are "On the Calumet," "Willow Island," "Keene Valley," "Ebb Tide on the Coast of Maine," "Head of a Jersey Bull," "The Return from the Fair" and "Illinois Prairie." She has exhibited in Chicago, Boston. New York and the Centennial Exposition.

Isabel Elizabeth Smith 1845 ~
Miss Isabel Elizabeth Smith was born in Clairmont County, Ohio, in 1845. After studying abroad for three years. Miss Smith opened a studio in Washington, District of Columbia, where she met with marked success, painting portraits of many prominent persons. She has won quite an enviable reputation as a miniature painter and is now doing work on the Pacific coast.

Rosina Emmett Sherwood 1854 ~ 1948
Mrs. Rosina Emmett Sherwood was born in New York, December 13, 1854. She was a twin sister of Robert Temple Emmett, direct descendant of Thomas A Emmett, the Irish Patriot She studied under William M. Chase; also in Paris. Her first work was on china, followed by illustrations of juvenile books. In 1884 she illustrated Mrs. Barton Harrison's "Old Fashioned Tales." She is a member of The American Society, and a member of the Society of American Artists. In 1887 she married the son of Mrs. John Sherwood.

Ellen Hardin Walworth (The Younger) 1858 ~
Was born at Saratoga Springs, New York, October, 1858. Was the Daughter of Mansfield Tracy Walworth. She was a student of art, conducting classes in sketching, and was principal of St Mary's Academy, Albany, from 1888 to 18901 Author of "An Old World as Seen Through Young Eyes," "Lily of the Mohawks," "Life and Sketches of Father Walworth," and other works.

Jennie Wilde
Is the daughter of Judge R. H. Wilde a distinguished newspaper writer and jurist of New Orleans, her native city. She was a student of designing and painting in some of the foremost art schools of Europe. Is a contributor to Northwestern periodicals and devotes her time to art and journalism. Owing to her creative ability and inventive genius as an artist, Miss Wilde has been invited by the Carnival Society of New Orleans to design the tableaux and many of the spectacular effects used during the Mardi Gras festival each year in New Orleans.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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