Iconic Artists and Their Pennsylvanian Roots

07/10/2018     News and Film

Pennsylvania has long been a hotbed of artistic activity, attracting artists across all media to the idyllic landscapes and intriguing, ever-developing urban sprawl.In 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts became the first art school and art museum in the country, drawing such influential artists as Fern Coppedge, Arthur Beecher Carles, Thomas Eakins, Daniel Garber, Edward Willis Redfield and Suzette Keast, among countless others. The museum is prized for collection of works by leading American and Pennsylvania artists, especially by its exceptionally talented and accomplished alumni and faculty. The Academy 's unique proximity to the New Hope area made it especially attractive to the emerging group of Pennsylvania Impressionists, the vibrant artistic community established in 1898, who painted along the Delaware river, north of Philadelphia.Fern Coppedge was one of the most significant female artists of the Pennsylvania Impressionist movement. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts invited her to exhibit her work as part of their annual exhibition in 1917. Coppedge 's snow-covered landscapes are among her best work, easily identifiable by their cool-hued and expertly rendered depictions of Bucks County. Daniel Garber is a leading Pennsylvania Impressionist, whose landscape paintings depicting the idyllic environs of the New Hope area hang in museums around the country. After studying at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Garber came to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1899. Garber settled in Cuttalossa, a hamlet on the Delaware River an hour north of Philadelphia. It was this verdant and varied landscape that would remain his inspiration and subject for the rest of his career.Edward Willis Redfield is arguably the most successful of all of the New Hope Impressionist artists. After graduating from the Academy in 1889, he traveled extensively across England and France, where he continued his studies in Paris. Redfield 's rapid, thick and broad brushstroke style, uniquely applied to canvas with no prior sketching, has made him among the most awarded American artist, second only to John Singer Sargent. Susette Inloes Schultz Keast was born in 1892 in Philadelphia. The grandniece of Franz Xavier Winterhalter, court painter to Emperor Napoleon III of France, Keast showed an early aptitude for art, attending the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art & Design) and PAFA. “The Inner Harbor” was exhibited at the Academy in 1931. Though visually distinct, Keast's painting is stylistically aligned with the work of Fern Coppedge. The short brushstrokes and treatment of sunlight on the landscapes of her paintings are classically emblematic of the Impressionist movement.Freeman 's has sold more works by Pennsylvania Impressionists than any other auction house. Our history is firmly rooted in the cultural landscape of Pennsylvania, given our unique proximity to the areas where some of the most notable artists lived and worked.Freeman's auction results for Pennsylvania—specifically Philadelphian—artists remain equally strong. Recently, a collection of works by Philadelphia native Arthur Carles came to auction, from the Collection of June & Perry Ottenberg. Born in 1882, Carles studied at PAFA under William Merritt Chase and Cecilia Beaux. Though his style developed and progressed from late Impressionism to Cubism to eventual abstract expressionism to, Carles returned to the same three subjects: still lifes, portraits, and the female nude. It was these three themes, along with his assertive and brilliant use of color, for which Carles is most well-known.  Realist painter Andrew Wyeth, son of the artist and illustrator Newell Convers Wyeth, was born in Pennsylvania in 1917. He studied under his father, taking his first and only studio lessons, and learned watercolor and figure study. In 1936, at the age of 19, Andrew Wyeth gave the first public viewing of his art at the Art Alliance of Philadelphia. His rich work in egg tempera and drybrush define his oeuvre. The Wyeth family legacy—his son Jamie is also an artist—remains prominent in not only the Philadelphia area, but the country.Works by Pennsylvania artists, whether they are Impressionists or not, consistently achieve strong results at auction. As America 's oldest auction house, Freeman 's has long-standing connections to the very places that inspired the artists that frequently appear in our catalogues. Curious what your Pennsylvania art will bring at auction? Freeman 's is currently inviting consignments.Speak to a specialist today.