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Alice Schille:

Poetry of Place


“The work of A. Schille -- a distinguished artist of Columbus, Ohio is remarkable for (its) wonderful delicacy, taste and beauty. There is a refinement, an unusually fine color sense, and general excellence of selection and treatment in each of them that are rarely to be found.” – Baltimore Maryland News, February 17, 1909 review of the Baltimore Water Color Club Exhibition

“There is design and color and meaning -- there is significance in all of Alice Schille’s works. She is undoubtedly one of the best of America’s women painters.” – Chicago Herald Examiner review of Art Institute of Chicago’s Third Annual International Exhibition of Watercolors, March 20 - April 22, 1923


Alice Schille: Poetry of Place

September 28 - October 12, 2018

Keny Galleries Columbus, Ohio

November 10 - December 15, 2018

Nedra Matteucci Galleries Santa Fe, New Mexico


Born in Columbus, Ohio in 1869, Schille studied at the Columbus Art School from 1891 to 1893 and then traveled to New York to augment her training. There she enrolled at the Art Students League and also studied at William Merritt Chase’s New York School of Art from 1897 to 1899. In 1903, she traveled to Paris for instruction at the Academie Colarossi and for private study. Although she returned to Columbus in 1904 to commence teaching at the Columbus Art School, she revisited France each summer until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. During this decade, she witnessed the major 1907 retrospective of Cezanne’s work in Paris and visited the studio of Gertrude Stein, where she met Picasso and was profoundly influenced by his work and that of Henri Matisse. These influences began to be seen in her work as early as 1909.

Starting in 1900 Schille began showing her works at the annual exhibitions of the New York Water Color Club, Art Institute of Chicago, American Water Color Society in New York and at the Philadelphia Watercolor Club held at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. William Merritt Chase purchased one of her watercolors from a 1905 Philadelphia Art Club exhibition. Subsequently, seven watercolors on exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy were sold. Schille also had numerous one person exhibitions at the Columbus Art Association (1912), Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts (1921, 1923, 1926, and 1932) and the Cincinnati Art Museum (1911 and 1915). A series of Post-Impressionist watercolors earned her the first prize at the Society of Western Artists in 1913.


In 1915, the eminent art instructor and artist, Arthur Dow, awarded her the first prize for watercolor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. That same year she also won a gold medal in this medium at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific Exposition. After the outbreak of World War I, Schille spent the next several summers in the art colony of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Encouraged by her American peers, she then fully embraced modernism. In 1917, the pioneering dealer Charles Daniel sold her work in New York to Ferdinand Howald of Columbus, the astute collector of modernism. Howald purchased three of her Pointillist beach scenes. Subsequently, she spent her summers of 1919, 1920, 1921 and 1926 in New Mexico, where she more fully developed her Modernist aesthetic. She

exhibited at the New Museum of New Mexico in 1920 in a one-person exhibition and a group exhibition. Dr. Gerdts, in his monograph Alice Schille, discussed “the magnificent Ranchos de Taos after a Rain” and his following description could very well apply to Ranchos de Taos – Oblique View in this exhibition – “thick, heavy planes of the back of the church glow with myriad colored washes, almost filling up the entire space, utilizing a daring, completely fluid ‘wet-on-wet’ technique. . . Schille’s fascination with the monolithic appearance of the church from the rear identifies her as one of the early modernists to depict the monument.” Throughout her life, Schille delighted in travel. After World War I, she resumed exploring European sites and also visited more exotic locales such as Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Istanbul, Mexico and Guatemala until the early 1940’s. Always

visually alert, she incorporated local people, their activities, and the architecture of the region within her constantly-evolving and eclectic watercolors. To quote William Robinson, Senior Curator of Modern European Painting and Sculpture of the Cleveland Museum of Art, “in retrospect, Schille was clearly one of the earliest American artists to assimilate European modernism and to bring its influence to the United States.” James Keny and Timothy Keny Keny Galleries

William H. Gerdts, Alice Schille (2001); James M. Keny “The French Experience: Alice Schille’s Artistic Legacy,” Timeline 5, no. 1 (February/March 1988); William H. Robinson, “Alice Schille Watercolors,” American Art Review XIII (April 2001)


“Loose, wet, and dominated by low earth tones, with pastel color worked into the highlights, her work updated the style of the Hague school, by now de rigueur for Dutch and Breton subjects. . . when she branched out to exhibit with watercolor clubs in Philadelphia and Chicago (in 1905), and with the venerable ASW in 1907. Schille regularly sent between five and ten watercolors every year to these venues and others in Boston and Washington, DC, where she won her first exhibition prize in 1908. . .” – Kathleen Foster American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent, 2017 A Gray Market, c. 1908 watercolor, 10 1/2 x 14 in.


Dalmatian Fishing Village, 1909 watercolor 17 1/2 x 24 in.


The Blue Bonnet, c. 1911, watercolor, 22 x 17 in.


Ranchos de Taos - Oblique View, c. 1919-20 watercolor, 18 x 21 in.


“A denizen of art colonies, she would work in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. . . as well as in other sunny places where her increasingly transparent and electric color found sympathetic subjects. . .” – Kathleen Foster American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent, 2017

Ranchos de Taos, Adobe House in the Distance c. 1919-20, watercolor 18 x 21 in.


A Sunny Street North Africa, c. 1922 watercolor, 20 3/4 x 17 3/4 in.


Checkers, Tunis, c. 1922 watercolor, 17 3/4 x 20 5/8 in.


Lighted Archway, Tunis 1922, watercolor 17 7/8 x 20 7/8 in.


Nocturne, Mexico c. 1923, watercolor 20 1/2 x 24 1/2 in.


Sunlight in the Tropics Mexico, 1923, watercolor 18 x 20 3/4 in.


Tunisia, Rhythm VII (Labor) c. 1924, watercolor 17 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.


Conversation, Mexico, c. 1925-30 watercolor, 5 3/4 x 4 1/2 in.


“Even more brilliant is her horizonless Mediterranean Vista’s myriad brightly colored washes floating upon the paper. . .” – William Gerdts, Alice Schille, 2001

Mediterranean Coast c. 1920-25, watercolor 17 5/8 x 20 1/2 in.


“During the 1920’s. . . [Schille visited] North Africa and southern France. . . Principally seeking the intense light of tropical and Mediterranean climates she was also attracted to the simpler life of rural and village communities. . .” – William Robinson, Senior Curator of Modern European Painting and Sculpture, Cleveland Museum of Art Alice Schille: Ohio Artist, Her Innovative Spirit, Canton Museum of Art, 2001

Turquoise Shutters, Pyrenees Village, c. 1925-30, watercolor 17 1/2 x 20 in.


Calla Lilies, c. 1930, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 1/8 in.


A Conversation, Guatemala, c. 1930-35 watercolor, 18 x 21 in.


The Fountain, c. 1930-35 watercolor, 21 x 25 in.


Rooftops, Guatemala c. 1935, watercolor 18 x 20 7/8 in.


Mountain Village with Figure, Guatemala c. 1935, watercolor 17 7/8 x 20 7/8 in.


“Schille and [Diego] Rivera shared an interest in simplified, planar forms appropriate for rendering populous subjects. Yet, Schille never abandoned her devotion to modernism and abstract structure.” – William Robinson, Senior Curator of Modern European Painting and Sculpture, Cleveland Museum of Art, Alice Schille: Ohio Artist, Her Innovative Spirit Canton Museum of Art, 2001

Guatemalan Mother and Child, c. 1930-35 watercolor, 21 x 18 in.


Selected Chronology 1869 Alice Schille born August 21, Columbus, Ohio 1891-93 Attended Columbus Art School 1897-99 Attended the Art Students League in New York City; studied figure drawing with Kenyon Cox Studied at the Chase School of Art under William Merritt Chase (New York School of Art) Attended Chase’s Shinnecock School of Art, Long Island, summer 1899. Shared lodgings with painter Martha Walter 1900 Exhibited for the first time at the New York Water Color Club. Continued to exhibit there for forty years 1902-04 Traveled in England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland and France. Painted at the artists’ colony in Volendam, Holland Attended the Académie Colarossi in Paris, 1903-04. 1904 Met Philadelphia collector Samuel Stockton White III in Paris, where White modeled for Auguste Rodin’s The Athlete

Exhibited five works (three watercolors and two oils) at the Société Nationale des BeauxArts, Paris (the Paris Salon) Commenced teaching regularly at the Columbus Art School, traveling and painting during the summers 1905-14 Traveled to France and neighboring European countries in the summers to paint and to attend exhibitions. In Paris, met the influential art collector and writer Gertrude Stein. The French province of Brittany was a favorite destination. Stayed in London, Nice, Paris and Siena, as well Exhibited as a member of the Society of Western Artists at major museums in the Midwest, including those in Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland 1909 Accompanied by Martha Walter, made summer trip to Dalmatia. Painted watercolors that are daubed in a subtle Pointillist manner Became an Associate member of the American Water Color Society 1910 Had first one-person exhibition at the Jackson, Michigan Public Library Made summer trip to Cornwall, England By this date, at least six Schille watercolors

were owned by Samuel White, who, with his wife, Vera, were to be Schille’s most important patrons. The Whites acquired an outstanding collection of modern works of art by Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, etc. 1911 Exhibited Dalmatian watercolors at first oneperson show in Ohio, at the Cincinnati Art Museum Made summer trip to France and painted the hill city of Le Puy in southeast France, where she returned in following years 1912 Had first one-person exhibition at the Carnegie Library, Columbus. Had solo exhibitions at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts also in 1921, 1923, 1926 and 1932 1913 Traveled to Belgium and France during the summer, accompanied by Olive Rush Subject of a feature article by Edna Owings in International Studio, August 1914 Summer travels in France included trips to the beach town of Paris-Plage and probably to Provence In August, at the outbreak of World War I, left France for England before returning home to Columbus


1915 Awarded Gold Medal for watercolors at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco. Fellow Columbus artist and friend George Bellows also received a Gold Medal

1920 Had one-person exhibition of 15 watercolors at the New Museum, Santa Fe (now the Museum of New Mexico), September (one gallery); review in Santa Fe New Mexican, September 5

Painted series of Pointillist street scenes in New York City

Exhibited in group show, Exhibition of Southwestern Art, at New Museum in Santa Fe, September 1 – October 1. Exhibition included artists Gustave Baumann, Oscar Berninghaus, Olive Rush and Berger Sandzen

Spent the summer on the West Coast 1916-18 Painted and exhibited in the Gloucester, Massachusetts area during the summers; Painted first Pointillist watercolors with Fauve coloring and expressive daubing 1919-21 Spent summers in Santa Fe Renewed friendship with Olive Rush, who moved to Santa Fe in 1920 1919-38 Acquired historic santos by such fine Hispanic New Mexican artists as Molleno, Rafael Aragon, etc. Schille acquired paintings by gifted Native American watercolor artists Julian Martinez, Awa Tsireh, Stephen Mopope, etc. Attended many Native American dances with Olive Rush and Native American artist friends 1919 Had one-person exhibition of New Mexican watercolors at Columbus Art School, late September

1921 Had one-person exhibition of New Mexican and Californian watercolors and paintings at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, May 1-31 1922 Made summer trip to Tunisia and Morocco in North Africa and painted watercolors of North African scenes 1923 Summer traveled to Mexico Had one-person exhibition at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts 1924 Returned to North Africa in the summer and painted her second series of North African watercolors (the Labor and Rhythm series) 1926 Had one-person exhibition at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts Spent much of summer in New Mexico

1927-38 Traveled and painted during the summers, spending time in New Mexico, Mexico, and Guatemala 1929 Traveled to Turkey and Egypt during the summer. Painted series of Turkish watercolors 1951 Received Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts from the Columbus Art League 1955 Died November 6 in Columbus 1964 Memorial exhibition of 107 works held at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts 1988 Exhibition, Alice Schille: Lyrical Colorist (1869-1955), at Columbus Museum of Art, February 21 – April 24; Cheekwood Fine Arts Center, Nashville, Tennessee, June 11 – July 24 2006 Exhibition, Alice Schille: An Independent Spirit, Columbus Museum of Art, February 3 – June 4


Checklist A Conversation, Guatemala c. 1930-35 Watercolor 18 x 21 inches A Gray Market, c. 1908 Watercolor on paper 10 1/2 x 14 inches A Summer Storm, New Mexico c. 1923 *title page Watercolor on paper 4 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches A Sunny Street, North Africa c. 1922 Watercolor on paper 20 3/4 x 17 3/4 inches Blue Mountains, Adobe Houses, New Mexico, c. 1926 *front cover Watercolor on paper 17 3/4 x 20 3/4 inches Calla Lilies, c. 1930 Oil on canvas 24 x 20 1/8 inches Checkers, Tunis, c. 1922 Watercolor on paper 17 3/4 x 20 5/8 inches

Conversation, Mexico, c. 1925-30 Watercolor on paper 5 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches Dalmatian Fishing Village, 1909 Watercolor on paper 17 1/2 x 24 inches Guatemalan Mother and Child c. 1930-1935 Watercolor on paper 21 x 18 inches Lighted Archway, Tunis, 1922 Watercolor on paper 17 7/8 x 20 7/8 inches Mediterranean Coast (Mediterranean Vista #2) c. 1920-25 Watercolor on paper 17 5/8 x 20 1/2 inches Mountain Village with Figure, Guatemala, c. 1935 Watercolor on paper 17 7/8 x 20 7/8 inches Nocturne, Mexico, c. 1923 Watercolor on paper 20 1/2 x 24 1/2 inches

Ranchos de Taos, Adobe House in the Distance, c. 1919-20 Watercolor on paper 18 x 21 inches Ranchos de Taos-Oblique View c.1919-20 Watercolor on paper 18 x 21 inches Rooftops, Guatemala, c. 1935 Watercolor on paper 18 x 20 7/8 inches Sunlight in the Tropics, Mexico 1923 Watercolor on paper 18 x 20 3/4 inches Taos Indian Pueblo, c. 1919-21 *back cover Watercolor on paper 18 x 21 inches

The Blue Bonnet, c. 1911 Watercolor on paper 22 x 17 inches The Fountain, c. 1930-35 Watercolor on paper 21 x 25 inches Tunisia, Rhythm VII (Labor) c. 1924 Watercolor on paper 17 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches Turquoise Shutters, Pyrenees Village, c. 1925-30 Watercolor on paper 17 1/2 x 20 inches


“In retrospect, Schille was clearly one of the earliest American artists to assimilate European modernism and to bring its influence to the United States. . . Above all, Schille developed her own highly original, personal style that is at once lyrical and powerful, sophisticated in technique and formal design, spare yet richly orchestrated. An intuitive, instinctual painter, she identified more closely with the Expressionists than with the more theoretical concerns of rigid formalists and advocates of complete abstraction.” – William Robinson, Senior Curator of Modern European Painting and Sculpture, Cleveland Museum of Art Alice Schille: Ohio Artist, Her Innovative Spirit Canton Museum of Art, 2001


Keny Galleries Nedra Matteucci Galleries

Profile for Keny Galleries, Inc.

Alice Schille: Poetry of Place  

September 28-October 12, 2018 Keny Galleries, Columbus, Ohio November 10-December 15, 2018 Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Alice Schille: Poetry of Place  

September 28-October 12, 2018 Keny Galleries, Columbus, Ohio November 10-December 15, 2018 Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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