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 the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts(PAFA).
At PAFA, she studied under Thomas Anshutz and William Merritt Chase, and in 1911, at the age of 19, she received the prestigious Cresson European Fellowship, which Daniel Garber received sometime before. Not limited by geography, Keast's work was influenced by the landscapes of Gloucester, Massachusetts, Montreal, her time in Europe, as well as the Far East, including China, Japan, and Korea.
She lived with her husband, the Philadelphia architect W.R. Morton Keast, in a townhouse on Rittenhouse Square, where her home studio was designed to resemble the palace of a Chinese Emperor. Keast was a member of The Philadelphia Ten, a group comprised of students of the Philadelphia School of Design whose efforts were to exhibit their work independently, having been barred from many public institutions based on their gender. Fern Coppedge, one of the most significant female Pennsylvania Impressionists and a fellow student at PAFA, was also a member, and the two would have crossed paths professionally and socially during their involvement with the group. Keast died in 1932 at the age of 40, finalizing what was already an extensive, exemplary oeuvre.
Freeman’s is pleased to present five Keast paintings in its Dec. 3 American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists sale. All fresh to the market, the pieces come from a family collection now belonging to one of the three granddaughters of the artist.
A highlight of the grouping is entitled "The Inner Harbor" and exhibited at Keast's alma mater PAFA, 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, most notably the many-hued surface of the water in this present work, are classically emblematic of the Impressionist movement.