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Louise Herreshoff Eaton To See Color First April 27–May 29, 2020 Staniar Gallery Washington and Lee University Lexington, Virginia

To See Color First

Louise Herreshoff Eaton

Staniar Gallery Department of Art and Art History Washington and Lee University 204 West Washington Street Lexington, VA 24450 USA www.wlu.edu/staniar-gallery The Staniar Gallery endeavors to respect copyright in a manner consistent with its nonprofit educational mission. If you believe any material has been included in this publication improperly, please contact the Staniar Gallery. Copyright Š 2020 by Staniar Gallery, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia All essays copyright Š 2020 by the authors All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Layout by Billy Chase Photos by Brian Muncy Copy edited by Lindsey Nair Printed and bound in Waynesboro, Virginia, by McClung Companies ISBN: 978-0-578-66216-9 Unless otherwise noted, all paintings are gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Euchlin D. Reeves in memory of Mrs. Chester Green Reeves and Miss Lizzie H. Dyer. Cover: Rocks #2, ca. 1925. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14, Signed lower left: L E, UR1967.1.99

To See Color First

Louise Herreshoff Eaton

April 27–May 29, 2020 Staniar Gallery Washington and Lee University Lexington, Virginia Contributors: Tracy Bernabo Patricia Hobbs

Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14.5 x 17.5 Signed lower right: L E UR1967.2.31

Staniar Gallery is pleased to host the exhibition To See Color First which presents the first comprehensive study of the watercolors of Louise Herreshoff Eaton, an artist who figures so prominently in Washington and Lee’s permanent collection. As an academic gallery, a crucial aspect of Staniar’s mission involves mounting temporary exhibitions of works that enhance the courses and curriculum in the art department. Typically on view for 4-5 weeks, our shows expose students to a broad array of art and topical creative explorations. These exhibitions model a diverse range of creative practice and related discourse, but in-depth study of the original artworks is not possible given the brief amount of time the works are on campus. Thus, the chance to mount an exhibition from the university’s permanent collection provides an exciting opportunity to expand the pedagogical role of the gallery. With their new research into the life and works of Louise Herreshoff Eaton, Tracy Bernabo and Patricia Hobbs lay a scholarly foundation upon which students can continue to gain inspiration and develop art historical analyses long after the show comes down. Tracking Herreshoff’s artistic development in relationship to the trajectory of the contemporaneous movements in her lifetime, Bernabo and Hobbs demonstrate the significance of her oeuvre as a reflection of the dynamic times in which she worked. Their research shines light on the life and works of this relatively unknown painter, sparking new lines of inquiry that imbue the university’s rich collection of Herreshoff’s paintings with fresh relevance for students and future scholars. Staniar Gallery and the exhibition’s co-curators would like to thank the staff of the Museums at WLU, especially Kyra Swanson and Brian Muncy; the staff of the Leyburn Library Special Collections & Archives; and Andrea Lepage, Chair of the Department of Art and Art History. We are grateful for the contributions of the Summer 2019 student interns: Charlotte Cook ’19, Matthew Richards ’19, Laurel Myers ’20 and Virginia Laurie ’21. Lastly, for support of this project we extend our appreciation to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; and Robert Martin, Mary C. Wheeler Archivist and Head of Visual Arts, The Wheeler School, Providence, Rhode Island.

Clover Archer, Director Staniar Gallery Washington and Lee University


Curators’ Statement This exhibition of watercolors in the Staniar Gallery is the first public display in decades of Louise Herreshoff Eaton’s works outside of the Elisabeth S. Gottwald Gallery in the Reeves Museum on the Washington and Lee University campus. Herreshoff and her husband, W&L alumnus Euchlin Dalcho Reeves ’27L, amassed an impressive collection of Asian and European ceramics during their 26-year marriage. Donated to Washington and Lee, it constitutes the foundation of the Reeves Museum of Ceramics, now one of the finest collections of historic ceramics in the nation. That generous gift, however, did not initially hint at the wealth of fine art that would accompany it.

Parrot (Self-portrait), ca. 1920 Oil on canvas, 27 x 23 Signed lower right: L. Eaton Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Euchlin D. Reeves in memory of Mrs. Chester Green Reeves and Miss Lizzie H. Dyer, UR1967.1.17

Herreshoff’s artwork was discovered stored in the couple’s two side-by-side houses when the ceramics collection was packed in 1967 and transported from Providence, Rhode Island, to Lexington, Virginia. James W. Whitehead, a former university treasurer who became the founding director of the Reeves Collection and Herreshoff’s first biographer, often repeated the story about loading stacks of paintings into the truck so that W&L art students could reuse the frames. It was only later, while cleaning the dirt-encrusted glass covering the paintings, that he and art professor Marion Junkin recognized that they were also significant and by an artist of obvious talent. But who was artist Louise Herreshoff Eaton? Whitehead, whose expertise was in finance, acknowledged his limited knowledge of art and contacted several authorities, including art historian William H. Gerdts, to help him assess this unexpected collection of paintings. An expert in American Impressionism, Gerdts was so impressed with Herreshoff’s work that he included her in his book, “Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting 1710-1920,” stating that her paintings “… recall the work of Fauves such as Henri Matisse and certainly mark her not only as the most avant-garde of Providence artists, but as a leader of Post-Impressionism in America.”


Though Whitehead was not an art historian, he excelled in business acumen and convinced the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., to mount a 1976 exhibition of Herreshoff’s paintings. The exhibition catalog, subtitled “An American Artist Rediscovered,” included an introductory biography of Herreshoff that was written by Whitehead; it formed the basis for his 2003 book, “A Fragile Union.” It is that publication, graced with an introduction by Tom Wolfe, that has popularized the story of the artist and her May-December marriage to Reeves. The book centers on Herreshoff’s family life with references to her early artistic training, but it does not examine her paintings and the artistic milieu in which she worked. This exhibition offers fresh and focused access to a selection of Herreshoff’s paintings and begins to examine the artist in her cultural context. She is a prime example of late 19th- and early 20th-century upper-class women who were able to study art abroad in an environment that was more costly, but far more supportive, than anything available at the time to women in the United States. Her paintings were accepted several times into the Paris Salon and were hung in quality venues in and around New York and Rhode Island during the 30-plus years of her creative production. In Providence and on Cape Ann, she shared exhibition space with well-known artists such as Frederick Childe Hassam and Maurice Prendergast, and may have painted in Gloucester in the company of Cecilia Beaux, John Sloan, Stuart Davis, Milton Avery and Jane Peterson. Herreshoff incorporates into her paintings an understanding and exploration of modern art movements, including impressionism, post-impressionism and fauvism. Louise Herreshoff Eaton worked and exhibited during a pivotal, vigorous and transitional moment in American art. More than just a copyist or competent plein air painter, she pushed her art to abstraction and did it well. These watercolors, which represent a quarter of her known work, testify to that talent and invite us to examine and enjoy her paintings anew.

Patricia A. Hobbs Senior Curator of Art Museums at Washington and Lee University Tracy Bernabo Curator, Try-me Gallery


Rooted In Place: Louise Herreshoff Eaton, Providence and Cape Ann Patricia Hobbs


FTER YEARS OF PAINTING, LOUISE HERRESHOFF EATON’S FIRST AND APPARently only solo exhibition took place in November 1925 at the Providence Art Club, where she was a member. The small exhibition catalog, illustrated with a black-and-white photograph of her oil painting “Weathered Boats, Rockport” (fig. 1), listed 46 works that included 20 watercolors. More than half of the titles referred to towns and sites on Cape Ann, a popular New England tourist resort and artist colony. In retrospect, the exhibition connected two geographical locations that were critical to the evolution of Herreshoff’s art: Providence, Rhode Island, and Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Louise Herreshoff was born in 1876 in Brooklyn, New York, to Grace E. Dyer and John Brown Francis (J. B. F.) Herreshoff. After her mother’s death in 1880, Louise was raised in Providence, Rhode Island, in the home of her maternal grandfather and three Fig. 1 unmarried aunts. Elizabeth H. Dyer, Weathered Boats – Rockport, ca. 1925 known by Louise as Aunt Lizzie or, Oil on canvas, 23.25 x 27.5 affectionately, as “Wisam,” became Signed lower left: L E Exhibition: Solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 her surrogate mother. While Louise UR1967.1.25 frequently visited her father and his family in Brooklyn, the city of Providence and its educational and cultural offerings were a foundational influence on Herreshoff as a person and as an artist. By the last quarter of the 19 th century, Providence was a crucible for women’s education and activism, as well as for arts and culture. Founded in the mid-18th century and named after forebears of the Herreshoffs, Brown University established its Women’s College in 1 1891. The Rhode Island School of Design was founded in 1877 by a group of women led by Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf. One of the first independent colleges of art and design in the nation, it included both a school and a museum, and enrolled women as students 2 from the start. In 1884, Ann Ives Carrington Ames established a school in Providence that provided young girls, including Louise, with a substantive education that contrasted with the more typical finishing school curriculum. In 1888, it was named the Lincoln School in


honor of John Larkin Lincoln (1817–1891), a professor of Latin at Brown University and a 3 strong advocate for women’s education. Louise also attended Saturday art classes at the Wheeler Studio, founded in 1883 by artist and pioneer educator Mary Colman Wheeler (1846–1920). Wheeler first came to Providence in 1868 from her home in Concord, Massachusetts to teach at Miss Shaw’s finishing school. During the following decade, she traveled abroad to study art and painting, returning periodically to teach in Providence and take classes in art history that were taught by Brown University professors. After studying several years in France for the purpose of learning to teach, Wheeler returned permanently to Providence, where she opened a studio in which she offered a traditional, classical foundation for art, teaching the figure from casts of antique statues. Many of her students, including Louise Herreshoff, became very proficient portrait painters, an acceptable profession for women at 4 the time. (fig. 2) Fig. 2 Portrait of Edith Howe, 1897 Oil on canvas, 29 x 25 Signed upper right: L. Herreshoff 97 UR1967.1.55

When Wheeler opened her studio, she first considered the art in Providence to be “pitiable, hardly an artist here who deserves the name of one.” By the next year, her attitude had changed and Providence became, in her eyes, an “enlightened city.” She committed to stay and, in 1889, opened a boarding and day school with a college preparatory curriculum added 5 6 to her art instruction. That same year, she became a member of the Providence Art Club. Sixteen men and women established the Providence Art Club in 1880 “to stimulate the appreciation of art in the community,” and its quarters became the site of lectures, concerts 7 and exhibitions that showcased contemporary art in Rhode Island. Significantly, it was the first American art club to admit both men and women as “full and equal” members upon its founding. The original six women and other early female members, including Wheeler, set examples as artists and activists for the generation that followed, making “it possible for women to obtain a foothold in the professional world of art, always dominated by men. They helped to produce a culture that empowered women to challenge their traditional roles 8 as dilettantes and decorators.” Many of the artist members had studied abroad, especially in Paris, where they attended the École des Beaux Arts, the Académie Julian, the Académie Colarossi, or studied independently. Early members were also among the first women whose work was accepted to hang in the Paris Salon. Jane Nye Hammond (1857–1901), Rosa


Peckham (1842–1922), Helen Watson Phelps (1864–1944), and Wheeler led the way; Herreshoff followed in their footsteps. In 1887, Wheeler began to take her 15- and 16 -year-old students to France in the summer to study art and language. Louise accompanied her in the 1890s before studying with French artist Raphaël Collin (1850–1916) at Fontenay-aux-Roses. Herreshoff also traveled throughout Europe with friends to paint and sightsee, and finally moved to Paris to study at the Académie Julian with Jean-Paul Laurens (1838–1921) and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845 –1902). Herreshoff received classical training at this time, but through Collin she was also influenced by elements of French Impressionism. Her paintings were primarily portraits or figures placed within interiors or landscapes and painted en plein air. By the age of 21, Herreshoff was among the relatively few Americans accepted into the Paris Salon, exhibiting in 1897, possibly in 1899, and finally in 1900 9 with her painting “Le Repos.” (fig. 3)

Fig. 3 Le Repos, 1899 Oil on canvas, 40 x 28; original frame Signed lower right: LC Herreshoff 1899 Exhibitions: Paris Exposition, 1900; Providence Art Club, 1901 Pan-American Exposition (Buffalo, NY) 1901 UR1967.1.8

When Wheeler first arrived in Providence in 1868, she described the city as “a queer place with no gradations as in other cities; one is someone or no one.” She called it “a society 10 place, a city to look at, most picturesque and where people dress so well.” The Dyers, Louise’s maternal family, were among the city’s elite who were concerned with appear11 ance, as evidenced frequently in Louise’s letters from abroad to her aunt. They also fit another characteristic of city residents noted by Wheeler in 1876 when she wrote to a 12 friend, “Providence people fly into the country very early, making short Winters.” A letter of August 1892 from Louise’s father, mentioning her painting with friends, was addressed to Shattuck Farm in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where the Dyers summered that year. When in France, Louise wrote to Aunt Lizzie at the Miramonte Inn in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire (1898) and also to the Hotel Hesperus in Magnolia, Massachusetts (1898 and 1899), which was one of the new resort hotels located on Cape Ann. This is the first reference we have connecting Louise’s family to that region of New England. By the 1890s, Cape Ann had become a new and fashionable tourist destination for those escaping the heat of urban centers. While towns on the cape with working harbors, like Gloucester, remained dedicated to the fishing industry, entrepreneurs built hotels, golf


courses and other amenities for summer visitors. Artists came, too, attracted by the picturesque towns and harbors, and especially the quality and variability of light that was of such interest to native son Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865) and to Winslow Homer (1836–1910). In fact, Cape Ann is considered “the oldest and most continuously active” American art colony, 13 dating to the 1850s. In the late 19 th century, artists such as Frank Duveneck (1848–1919) arrived to paint and teach. Duveneck also brought with him students from Cincinnati, including John Henry Twachtman (1853–1902). By the turn of the 20 th century, painters like Twachtman and Childe Hassam (1859–1935), as well as other members of the artists’ group known as “The Ten,” were drawn to Cape Ann for its picturesque views. These American Impressionists were strongly influenced by the French Impressionists, but retained interest in solid masses rather than dissolving form in light and color. After the first decade of the 20 th century, the grittiness of the harbors and increasing industrialization of the region, as well as the tourists themselves, were attractive to those American artists who challenged academic traditions, including urban realist John Sloan (1871–1951) and modernist Maurice Prendergast (1858–1924), both members of “The Eight.” Cape Ann was a nexus for multiple artistic philosophies and styles, which exerted an impact on all visiting artists in some way or another. We are not yet certain when Louise first visited Cape Ann to paint. Her extant letters reveal that travel was a constant in her life, and wherever she went, often with Lizzie Dyer, she painted and visited museums and galleries. When Louise returned from France to Brooklyn in 1903, she anticipated marriage to her cousin, James Herreshoff, but was thwarted by her family. Instead, her father encouraged her work as an artist and rented a studio for her in New York, although she frequently traveled back to Providence. In June 1905, she went abroad with Aunt Lizzie and her half-sister, Sarah L. Herreshoff, traveling aboard the 14 Teutonic from New York to Liverpool. We do not yet know their final destination or the duration of their trip, but it is possible they visited Paris, with a September return date. In Paris, Louise may have seen the bold works of the Post-Impressionists and the Fauves. In summer 1906, she was in St. Augustine and Palm Beach, Florida, mailing to Lizzie several postcards requesting that her aunt send her a selection of oil paints. No other correspondence has yet been uncovered to ascertain other destinations between 1903 and 1910, although, based on earlier travels, she undoubtedly visited friends and family in both Philadelphia and Boston. But Louise was painting—that we know. In 1909, she exhibited 13 works in the Providence 15 Art Club Annual Exhibition. We are not sure of her medium, but titles in the exhibition catalog provide hints of where she painted, including “White Horse Beach,” which is located in Manomet near Plymouth, Massachusetts, a tourist destination since the late 19 th century. Other titles, such as “Mountain and Marsh,” “Mountain Mists,” and “Marshes” imply visiting a mountainous but marshy area, perhaps the White Mountains in New Hampshire, where the Dyers had previously summered. Based on extant works, Herreshoff may have begun to paint with watercolor around this time, if not earlier. She did not date her paintings, except for the larger portraits and figure paintings created before 1900. At this point, we can only make educated guesses as to the chronology of her work, in part based on her signature. The earliest watercolors are signed “L. C. Herreshoff” in pencil, and some may record travels in Europe. Wheeler


had used watercolor when painting abroad. It was a favorite medium for plein air painters because of its easy portability and fast drying qualities. While watercolors had been used for centuries, they became very popular in the 18th century, epitomized in the work of English artist J. M. W. Turner (1751–1851). In the late 19 th century, John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) and Winslow Homer (1836–1910) were among the leading American artists to 16 use the medium. Homer made his first watercolors on Cape Ann in summer 1873. In 1896, Rhode Island artist H. Anthony Dyer, probably Louise’s relative, was one of the founding members of the Providence Water Color Club, which, along with the Providence Art Club, 17 mounted exhibitions throughout the year. Louise and her aunts assuredly attended those exhibitions, with Herreshoff absorbing information and ideas. She would not, however, exhibit with the Providence Water Color Club until the 1920s. In December 1910, Louise married Charles C. Eaton, a distant cousin, and moved to Schenectady, New York. Her marriage at the age of 34 did not last long. Having lived independently or with strong single women until that point, Herreshoff left Eaton just months after the wedding and returned to Providence. She did not divorce him, however, 18 until early 1920 and retained his name until her 1941 marriage to Euchlin D. Reeves. Presently, we do not know what and where Herreshoff painted between 1910 and 1920, although the W&L collection includes numerous undated works that no doubt date to this period. No records have been located that indicate that Louise exhibited again until 1920, when she included seven paintings in a December “Thumbnail Exhibition” at the 19 Providence Art Club. Again, titles of those paintings may provide some clues. Was “Foreign Houses” painted during a visit to her sister, Sarah, who was married and living in Italy? Did she visit family in Boston and paint “New England Houses”? Could “The Furled Sail” have been painted on Cape Ann? There are a number of signed but undated and untitled oil paintings in the collection that most definitely depict Gloucester and Rockport; those are American Impressionist works that are more reserved than the paintings Herreshoff would exhibit as the decade of the 1920s advanced. The 1920 Providence Art Club Thumbnail Exhibition was the prelude to a prolific period of painting and exhibiting for Herreshoff, and much of her work at that time appears to have been done on Cape Ann, where she painted in both oils and watercolors. In 1921, she again exhibited in the Providence Art Club Thumbnail exhibition, showing a work titled 20 “Streets in Boston.” That same year, Herreshoff was one of the artists selected by jury to 21 show in the Sixth Annual Exhibition of the Gallery on the Moors on Cape Ann. The Gallery on the Moors was the first art gallery established on Cape Ann, opening its 22 door in 1916. Prior to that, artists exhibited their works in their studios or in various hotels. Even Herreshoff sent out invitations for an exhibition of her paintings “at the Green Studio, 23 Hotel Harbor View, September 3-5, with tea served on September 3rd.” The Gallery on the Moors held annual juried exhibitions until 1922, when the jury system came 24 under so much controversy that it split apart the art community in Gloucester. In that final Gallery on the Moors 1922 exhibition, Herreshoff exhibited a large oil painting entitled “In 25 Minor Key – Rockport.” (fig. 4) It is a very accomplished American Impressionist work that she 26 showed again at the Providence Art Club in 1923. Louise was one of 64 artists in the Gallery on the Moors that year, when noted portrait artist Cecilia Beaux (1865–1942), who had been


painting in Gloucester since the 1880s, was one of the jurors. Louise’s wo r k s hu ng amo ng paintings by notable American Impressionists H. A. Vincent (1864–1931), Gifford Beal (1879–1956), W. Lester Stevens (1888– 1969), Aldro T. Hibbard (18 8 6 –19 72 ), H e n r y Kenyon (18 61–19 26), Fred eric k Mulhaupt (1871–1938) and Camelia 27 Whitehurst (1871–1936). Also included in the exhibition were William Fig. 4 In Minor Key – Rockport, ca. 1922 Meyerowitz (1887–1981) Oil on canvas, 19 x 23.25 and his wife, Theresa Signed lower left: Louise Eaton Exhibitions: Providence Art Club, 1923 Bernstein (1890–2002), UR1967.1.28 who was a member of the “Philadelphia Ten,” a group of women who studied in Philadelphia and exhibited together for several decades. Bernstein was considered a Realist and worked with artists including Robert Henri (1865– 1929), John Sloan (1871–1951), Stuart Davis (1892–1964) and Edward Hopper (1882–1967), all of whom also painted on Cape Ann. Bernstein and Meyerowitz, who lived in Rocky Neck in East Gloucester, were also friends with William Zorach (1887–1966), a Cubist sculptor and painter, and his wife Marguerite Thompson Zorach (1887–1968), who was an American Fauvist. William Zorach had published an article in the October 1921 issue of The Arts in which he discussed “the new meanings of line and form and color … developing in the world today…” He wrote, “Modern artists do not literally attempt to paint things as others have been accustomed to see them. They paint with an inner and an outer vision… Modern artists take a line here, a color there; they seek the inner, combined with the outer, and (through their vision and realization, colored with the strength of their personality), create 28 art.” The Zorachs were also on Cape Ann in 1922; a watercolor by William Zorach, titled “Lightening Storm, Gloucester” and dated 1922, is in the collection of the Columbus 29 Museum in Georgia. Most assuredly, modern art was a topic of conversation on the cape at exhibitions, teas and other social functions that Herreshoff and Lizzie Dyer likely attended. After the era of the Gallery on the Moors ended, various other art groups were established, including the Gloucester Society of Artists, with which Herreshoff exhibited “Vegetables in 30 a Field” in 1923. She soon joined the North Shore Art Association, where she showed the watercolor “The Yellow Tree” in 1925. (fig. 5) In October 1926, a review of the North Shore Arts Association exhibition in the American Magazine of Art singled out her oil painting



“My Aunt Elizabeth.” (fig. 6) It would be the last time Herreshoff exhibited on Cape Ann. Aunt Lizzie’s health was failing, and she died the following year. Even with Aunt Lizzie in tow on her painting trips to Cape Ann, Herreshoff was certainly immersed in the social and intellectual scene in which notable painters on Cape Ann worked and moved. There is no doubt she absorbed ideas that, in combination with her training and experience, provided the impetus to push her work in bolder directions. Her earliest paintings in oil illustrate her classical training, her fine ability to capture a portrait and her clear understanding of the principles of art, but her later works become bold statements of color and form, pushing the recognizable towards abstraction. Her watercolors undoubtedly were key in that evolution. Between 1923 and 1927, Herreshoff participated in annual group exhibitions with both the Providence Art Club and the Providence Water Color Club. Her major 1925 solo exhibition at the Providence Art Club was a kind of retrospective that included a few early works such as an academic red chalk drawing of a nude and Louise’s 1898 unfinished portrait of her sister, Sarah, to which she added her married initials, “L E.” However, most of the works in the exhibition appear to have been new, and more than half of the 25 oil paintings were scenes of Cape Ann. One witnesses an evolution of her work in these paintings, in which she

Fig. 5 The Yellow Tree, ca. 1925 Watercolor on paper, 10.5 x 14.5 Signed lower left: L E Exhibitions: North Shore Art Association, 1925; Solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.1.93


pushes beyond American Impressionism, past Post Impressionism, towards a more Fauvist aesthetic. In December 1928, after her Aunt Cornelia’s death, Herreshoff resigned as a member of the art club, at which time she 32 apparently stopped painting. Louise was 52.

Fig. 6 My Aunt Elizabeth, ca. 1926 Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 Signed lower right: L E Exhibition: North Shore Art Association, 1926 UR1967.1.19

Fig. 7 Untitled, ca. 1925 Watercolor on paper, 9 x 6.5 Unsigned UR1969.2.10

Herreshoff’s surviving watercolors reflect a modern, almost gritty aesthetic, their chosen subjects markedly unromantic and echoing “The Ten” in their depictions of humble dwellings, muddy streets, alleyways lined with utility poles, rugged fish houses and working wharves. It is noticeable that only one of these paintings includes a figure—a solitary man, perhaps a fisherman. (fig. 7) A stark contrast to other artists in her milieu whose works teem with figures going about daily life, Louise’s everyday scenery is authentic but eloquently underpopulated. Herreshoff also painted pure landscape. Her hills, valleys, rocks and water are evoked with broad brushstrokes and bold colors that float near the surface of the paper while capturing the essence of place. This is not the careful and delicate linear quality of her early watercolors, nor the atmospheric verisimilitude of her early oils. These mature paintings are “modern” as defined by William Zorach in his seminal treatise on modernism, “The New Tendencies in Art:” “What is real in art is what one puts into one’s work intellectually and emotionally by projecting one’s appreciation, one’s knowledge and one’s taste in regard to form and color harmony, — not in copying what one sees 33 in nature.” Herreshoff fulfilled Zorach’s vision, ceasing to merely copy nature, and by drawing on her collective experiences, embraced new modernist theories of form and color, even as she retained an integral sense of place that continued to reflect her roots in Providence and her connections to Cape Ann.


Brown University. “October 1, 1891, First Women Students Begin Study.” Brown.edu. www.brown.edu/ about/history/timeline/first-women-students-begin-study (accessed December 30, 2019).


Rhode Island School of Design. “History + Tradition.” Risd.edu. www.risd.edu/about/history-tradition/ (accessed December 30, 2019).


Lincoln School. “School Profile.” Lincolnschool.org. www.lincolnschool.org/a-lincoln-school-education/school-profile (accessed December 30, 2019).


Wheeler School. “History of the School.” Wheelerschool.org. www.wheelerschool.org/about-wheeler/ history (accessed December 30, 2019).


Blanche E. Wheeler Williams, Mary C. Wheeler: Leader in Art & Education, 2nd ed. (Providence, RI: The Wheeler School, 2000), 193, 197.


Catherine Little Bert and Nancy Whipple Grinnell, Making Her Mark: The Women Artists of the Providence Art Club, 1880 (Providence, RI: Providence Art Club, 2017), Exhibition catalog, 32.


Providence Art Club. “The Club’s History.” Providenceartclub.org. providenceartclub.org/about/ the_clubs_history (accessed December 30, 2019).


Nancy Whipple Grinnell, “Women and the Origins of the Providence Art Club” in Making Her Mark, 10.


Lois Marie Fink, American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 355.

10 Williams, Mary C. Wheeler, 193, 198. 11

Jim Whitehead amassed a collection of the artist’s family letters during his research on the Reeves family and then used them as a primary resource for his book A Fragile Union. In late spring 2019, the Leyburn Library’s Special Collections received a gift of many of those documents, including letters written from France in the 1890s by Louise Herreshoff to her aunt Elizabeth H. Dyer. Student museum interns transcribed those letters in summer 2019, and we hope that additional documents will resurface in the future.

12 Williams, Mary C. Wheeler, 117. 13

Kristian Davies. Artists of Cape Ann: A 150 Year Tradition (Rockport, MA: Twin Lights Pubishers, 2001), 3.


The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 243. Ancestry.com. UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2008). www. ancestry.com/search/collections/1518/?name=_herreshoff&birth=1905&e-Self – Travel=_liverpool&eSelf-Travel_x=_1-0&f-Self-Arrival-Ship=Teutonic&name_x=_1, 2019 (accessed July 18, 2019).


“Providence Art Club Annual Exhibition 1909.” Providence Art Club Scrapbooks: 1901–1935. Owned by the Providence Art Club; microfilmed by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. [Microfilm reel #3561]


Cape Ann Museum. “Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880.” Capeannmuseum. org. www.capeannmuseum.org/exhibitions/homer-beach (accessed January 5, 2020).


Bert Gallery. “Artist Biographies: H. A. Dyer.” Bertgallery.com. www.bertgallery.com/gallerycollection/ bios/dyer.php (accessed January 5, 2020).


On March 3, 1920, Lewis Herreshoff wrote to his niece: “Dear Louise, The first thing, I want to heartily congratulate you on getting rid of that miserable Eaton fellow, the worst sample of our race I ever met and with all he had decent parents, to hell with him.” See Herreshoff papers, Leyburn Library Special Collections, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia. For more information about Louise’s marriage to Eaton, see: James W. Whitehead, A Fragile Union, 2nd ed. (Self-published, Celeste Dervaes Whitehead, 2006), 75-80.


“Providence Art Club Thumbnail Exhibition 1920.” Archives of American Art. [Microfilm reel #3561]

20 Ibid. 21 “Comment on the Arts,” The Arts, Vol 1, No. 7 (August-Sept 1921), 36-37. The article lists Louise Herreshoff Eaton among 23 exhibiting artists for that season’s show. No painting title is mentioned. 22 Judith A. Curtis. “The Rise and Fall of the Gallery-on-the-Moors” in Rocky Neck Art Colony 1850-1950 (Gloucester, MA: Rocky Neck Art Colony, Inc., 2008), 85.


23 Herreshoff papers, Leyburn Library Special Collections. 24 Curtis, Rocky Neck Art Colony, 85-90. 25 The Gallery on the Moors Seventh Annual Exhibition. Exhibition leaflet, August 1922, Herreshoff papers, Leyburn Library Special Collections. Louise Herreshoff Eaton’s work In Minor Key is number 4 in the list of paintings. 26 “Providence Art Club Catalogue of the Forty-fourth Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, 1923.” Archives of American Art [Microfilm reel # 3561] 27 For contemporary accounts on the “no jury” controversies, see: “Conservatives Rule Gloucester Exhibit,” American Art News, 20:39 (August 18, 1922), 5, www.jstor.org/stable/25590001 (accessed November 24, 2019), and “No-Jury Questions Divides Gloucester,” American Art News, 21:1 (October 19, 1922), 3, www.jstor.org/stable/25590008 (accessed November 24, 2019). 28 William Zorach. “The New Tendencies in Art” in The Arts, 2:1 (Brooklyn, New York: Hamilton Easter Field, October 1921), 10-11. 29 Columbus Museum of Art. Watercolor – Lightening Storm, Gloucester. columbusmuseum.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/5928FAE1-EE39-4C68-9CEA-522679766622 (accessed November 24, 2019). 30 “Rival Exhibitions Held in Gloucester: North Shore Arts Association Opens First Display and Society of Artists Its Second, Juryless,” The Art News 21:39 (August 11, 1923), 1-2. www.jstor.org/stable/25591305 (accessed November 24, 2019). This is the only reference found to date to the artist as Louise Eaton, sans Herreshoff. 31 “The North Shore Arts Association Fourth Annual Exhibition,” American Magazine of Art, 17:10 (October 1926) 549. www.jstor.org/stable/23929163, (accessed July 29, 2019) 32 “Meeting of the Board of Managers, February 14th 1929,” Providence Art Club Minutes of the Board of Managers Meetings, 1926-1937. Archives of American Art. [Microfilm reel #3556] The minutes read: “The resignation of Mrs. Louise H. Eaton designated as Artist member was accepted as of December 31st, 1928.” 33 Zorach, The Arts, 11

Louise le Fauve Tracy Bernabo


O SEE COLOR FIRST: SUCH IS THE ESSENCE OF FAUVISM. THOUGH THE movement was once considered fleeting, its output crude, its participation confined to a handful of artists exhibiting in Paris between 1905 and 1908, the impact of Fauvism is now understood to be as imposing and intense as its colors. For André Derain 1 and his fellow Fauves, colors were likened to sticks of dynamite. In the years that followed the explosive 1905 Salon d’Automne, the Fauvist flame— though somewhat diminished by Cubism, Dada and Surrealism—defied complete extinguishment. It would, in fact, smolder throughout Europe, to be fully reignited in America at the 1913 Armory Shows, spreading its powerful heat as far as the American Southwest and California. How correct was Henri Matisse, arguably the father of Fauvism, when he commented to art critic George 2 Duthuit that, “Fauve painting isn’t everything, but it is the foundation of everything.” Remarkably, Louise Chamberlain Herreshoff Eaton Reeves, born in Brooklyn, raised in Providence, schooled in Paris and artistically aligned with New England Impressionism, would become among the few female exponents of Fauvism in America in the 1920s.

Fauvism was in its nascent stages when, in 1898, a 22-year-old Louise Herreshoff returned to the picturesque Fontenay-aux-Roses just south of Paris to resume study of plein air painting under Raphaël Collin. Life in the French countryside having run its course, in early August, Louise packed her trunks and moved to Paris to live as a single young lady of means, free to travel Europe and, more importantly, pursue art independently. In December of that year, she relocated from her fashionable Paris address near Parc Monceau to a new studio at 145 Boulevard du Montparnasse, just at the edge of the Latin Quarter on the not-so-fashionable left bank. An address close to the Luxembourg Gardens, the neighborhood was later to become central to the Parisian avant-garde and to Fauvism in particular, 3 with Henri Matisse renting a studio on nearby Rue de Sèvres from 1905 to 1908. Reporting to Aunt Lizzie of her latest Rive Gauche flat (she would move twice more), Louise wrote, “I am perfectly delighted with my room here. [It] has lovely pinkish paper on the wall and lightwood furniture. I have put up some of my photographs and it looks like my home ... 4 My room looks out onto the boulevard Montparnasse.” Over the next five years, no matter the exact address, Louise’s little studio on the bohemian side of town not only looked like her home, it was her home. Around 1899, Herreshoff enrolled at the Académie Julian and was assigned to study under two of the teachers most sought-after by Americans abroad, the Orientalist Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant and the historical painter Jean-Paul Laurens. It was during this period of advanced training that her mastery of color, so evident in her Fauvist oils and watercolors of the 1920s, likely found its origins. It is traceable not to Laurens, a man of didactic tastes best known for stressing the careful study of anatomy, but instead to Benjamin-Constant, 5 whose work she had seen a year earlier while visiting friends in Philadelphia. Described 6 as “a powerful, brutal painter, with florid taste,” his flamboyant paintings of rich, saturated tones must have resonated with Louise’s sensibilities, as a predilection towards color is 7 abundantly evident in her letters of this period.


For Herreshoff, raised by three spinster aunts in a conservative New England household, the Académie experience must have seemed electrifying at times. In addition to very proper, polite classes during the day hours, she had access to grittier, more informal opportunities. Not only Académie Julian but also Académie Colarossi, the rival private art school where Louise’s former instructor, Raphaël Collin, taught, offered open studio sessions in the evening. Russian-born Cubist Marevna would recall one such night at Colarossi in her autobiography: “The building was filled with a whole army of young students of all nationalities, and all the rooms were packed. In the one where we were drawing from the nude, the air was stifling because of an overheated stove. We were positively melting in an inferno permeated by the strong smell of perspiring bodies mixed with scent, fresh paint, damp waterproofs and dirty feet; all this was intensified by the thick smoke from cigarettes and the strong tobacco of pipe smokers. The model under the electric light was perspiring heavily and looked at times like a swimmer coming up out of the sea. The pose was altered every five minutes, and the enthusiasm and industry with which we all worked had to be 8 seen to be believed.” Nothing so graphic as Marevna’s account is to be found in what little we have of Louise’s correspondence during her stint in Paris. However, the effects of these sensational learning environments, undoubtedly made available to Herreshoff as an art student, are felt deeply in the intrepid qualities of her Fauvist work of the 1920s. While liberal-minded experiences as described above would forever inform and influence Louise’s creativity, more significantly it is her direct exposure to art and artists of the Parisian avant-garde that cannot be underestimated when retracing her steps towards Fauvism. Louise’s Paris years, 1898 to 1903, were also prime mobilization years for the budding Fauves. Henri Matisse, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck and artists in their immediate orbit were at this time engaged in the exchange of formative ideas, painting and exhibiting feverishly, traveling to coastal sites for inspiration, and gallery-hopping in Paris, particularly along Rue Laffitte. A street of 18th century limestone facades, it is here that Ambroise Vollard held his triumphant Cezanne show in 1898. No less celebrated was Durand-Ruel’s 1899 exhibition of Neo-Impressionists and The Nabis, followed by Bernheim-Jeune’s inaugural Van Gogh retrospective in 1901, each installment proving key 9 to the development of Fauvsim. For Matisse in particular, these events were a revelation. One can easily imagine Herreshoff also drawn in, as Rue Laffitte is but a short walk from Académie Julian’s principle site at Passage des Panoramas, and letters home confirm 10 she was enthusiastically taking in the Paris gallery and salon scene at this time. Though Louise’s response would not be immediately apparent, paintings of such intense coloration and aggressive brushwork would surely have left as indelible a mark on the young artist as they did on the up-and-coming Fauves. Louise Herreshoff departed Europe in 1903 but returned with her Aunt Lizzie and half-sister 11 Sarah in 1905, crossing the Atlantic first class aboard the luxury ocean liner Teutonic. They arrived on June 8, well in time to be in Paris for the launch of Fauvism at the third Salon 12 d’Automne, which opened four months later, on October 18. Louise’s documented travel abroad in 1905 affords her presence among the few American female artists to enter Salle VII of the Grand Palais and come face-to-face with the juggernaut of Fauvism. But there is no hard evidence to support such a conclusion, and she may well have waited until the Armory Show of 1913 to see full-blooded, fully blown Fauvism. We do know that Herreshoff witnessed the movement’s prelude, setting her apart from better-known American women


Fauves such as Marguerite Thompson Zorach and Anne Estelle Rice, who embraced Fauvism upon its debut but missed the critical run-up. For Herreshoff, the privileged status of experiencing Fauvism while in progress meant that its theoretical base ingredients would simmer, percolate and develop naturally within her, to emerge with authenticity and in accordance with the artist’s own timetable. Returning to life in America, Louise Herreshoff married Charles Eaton in 1910 but separated three months later, in 1911, reclaiming her cherished autonomy. She painted actively, skillfully, en plein air, often in coastal Massachusetts, mainly landscapes, seascapes and still life, executed in adherence (though loosely) with the principles of Impressionism and Tonalism. Exhibiting in Providence in 1909 with fellow Académie Julian alumni Frederick Usher DeVoll, Helen Watson Phelps and Hope Smith, titles of her paintings noticeably begin to reference color: “Green and Gold,” “The Grey Hill,” “The Pink House,” etc., an indicator of her strong belief in “seeing color first,” a practice that would take on more meaning throughout her career, with the later work “Yellow Field” serving as a prime example (fig. 8). Spring of 1913 heralded New York’s International Exhibition of Modern Art, also known as The Armory Show. Herreshoff was a frequent visitor to the city’s museums and galleries, and certainly would have attended. The Armory’s Gallery H was considered the climax of the 13 exhibition and positioned Fauvism as “the summit of the new movements.” Its wall hung with brilliantly colored, savagely painted works by Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck, Manguin, Marquet, Friesz, and Camoin, all core-group Fauvists, plus several canvases by Émilie Charmy, who had painted in Corsica with Camoin and exhibited concurrent with the Fauves at the Salon d’Automne of 1905. Were it in range, the visual impact of Charmy’s formidable painting, “L’Estaque,” would have landed a direct hit on Herreshoff. “L’Estaque” was immediately snapped up by Chicago collector Arthur Jerome Eddy, who declared its arbitrary, abstract 14 colors and boldness among the hallmarks of artistic innovation, freedom and individualism. Thus in her brazen command of color, form and composition, Émilie Charmy not only could have given Louise a final push towards Fauvism, but also, and perhaps more significantly, declared for Louise and fellow femme peintres a place for women among Fauves, just as Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Lilla Cabot Perry, and Cecilia Beaux had done a generation earlier for women and Impressionism. Following the groundbreaking Armor y Show of 1913, New York’s vibrant art scene continued to present a compelling case for Louise to step outside her comfort zone. Works by Matisse, Dufy and both Zorachs were included in Katherine Dreier’s spring 1917 exhibition of The Society of Independent Artists. Smaller

Fig. 8 Yellow Field, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed lower right: L E UR1967.2.40


Fig. 9 Untitled (Three Trees), n.d. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Unsigned UR1967.1.133

Fig. 10 Three Trees, No. 1, n.d. Oil on canvas, 17.5 x 21.5 Unsigned UR1967.1.41

Fig. 11 Three Trees, No. 2, n.d. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 Unsigned UR1967.1.15


exhibitions conducted by Dreier’s Société Anonyme, as well as Alfred Stieglitz and his circle, were also making waves. In 1921, works by Matisse and Derain were shown at the Brooklyn Museum’s pivotal exhibition, “Post Impressionists and Their Predecessors,” and in the same year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held its equally influential run of “French Impressionists and Post Impressionists.” It is in this atmosphere of Modernism that much of Herreshoff’s work underwent a pronounced shift towards high-key and unnaturalistic colors, use of thick black outlines and forceful, undisguised brushstrokes. Louise the Impressionist becomes Louise le Fauve. The conversion seems natural and, in retrospect, inevitable. Landscape-heavy, governed by color, apolitical, thoroughly French and, above all, an outgrowth rather than a rejection of its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist antecedents, Fauvism was at last an ideal fit for Louise Herreshoff. And one could theorize that this moment of revelation occurred on a windy day in coastal Massachusetts while painting a watercolor of three trees. Setting her easel near the edge of a high cliff overlooking the sea, Louise framed her composition of “Three Trees” (fig. 9) in the classic Impressionist mode: an asymmetrical landscape view with the horizon set approximately at a 1:2 ratio between land and sky, and 15 weighted at the lower corner. Rendered quickly over a loose pencil sketch and intended to represent a moment in time, the windswept, sunlit landscape is by-and-large Impressionist. But one also can sense rumblings of Fauvism at work, particularly in the treetop foliage, where a mass of ragged daubs intermingle subdued greens with bright blues. The effect is both unexpected and Fauvist-leaning in its merging of shadow, sky and vegetation to 16 assert essential character at the expense of picturesque charm. Dashes and stray flecks of plum and chartreuse seem last-minute spontaneous gestures that impart a vaguely feral quality to the scene. Inspired by her handiwork, Louise would revise the theme of “Three Trees” in oils, not once but twice, each time intensifying her vision, each time moving it closer to Fauvism. Where the watercolor presented trembling leaves of choppy broken strokes against a pale wash of sky and water, these elements now exploded on the canvas (fig. 10), energized by thicker smears, streaks, stray marks and descending zig-zags of intense spring green, cerulean blue, vivid yellow, rust and violet. Her brush heavily loaded with paint, the resulting encrustations of impasto contrast starkly with bare patches of exposed canvas, an effect frequently found in Fauve-period works. In its final iteration, “Three Trees” (fig. 11) resolves as a true ode to Fauvism, dazzling the eye with an effervescent confetti of divisionist brushwork, unbridled and fervid color, and a stabilizing use of heavy black outline akin to Émilie Charmy’s cloisonist paintings of Corsica and “L’Estaque.” Nowhere, however, is the urgency of Fauvism felt more strongly than in Herreshoff’s sublime treatment of a solitary rock visible at far right. Its dramatic transfiguration sees the humble gray stone reshaped into a more sculptural gentian- and rose-colored boulder, only to further metamorphose into a mysterious pillar of amber and amethyst, totemic eyes looking out from a truncated shaft, perhaps the image of its true geodesic spirit self. Charmy would similarly transform what may have been an arrangement of red flowers into a curious lobster form in one of 17 her most famous Fauve portraits, “Woman in a Japanese Dressing Gown.” Such is the sorcery of Fauvism. “With color,” wrote Matisse in 1908, “one obtains an energy that seems 18 to stem from witchcraft.”


Flocking as migratory birds to the light and life of port towns, fishing villages and seaside resorts, European and American artists alike traveled seasonally to these spots to paint the vibrant 19 scenery en plein air. While Normandy and Mediterranean loc ales welcomed Fauves, coastal New England attracted American Impressionist s. Louise herself had summered and painted in the Cape Ann area for many years. Its busy Fig. 12 Rocking Boats, ca. 1925 harbors, clapboard shacks and Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 rocky coastlines fill her canvases Signed lower left: L E and sketchpad paper. By the Exhibition: Solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.1.91 mid-1920s, her work, though still focused on this imagery, begins to show an undeniable Fauvist sensibility in its potent pictorial strength that is based purely on use of color. It is also at this time that Louise takes up watercolor painting, and examples such as “Rocking Boats” (fig. 12), “Rocks” (1925) and “Bouquet of Houses” (1925) bear striking kinship with Matisse and Derain watercolors of Collioure, France, from 1905. “Inland Country” (fig. 13), however, stands out as a remarkable achievement in watercolor, not only in its masterful Fauvist color technique, but moreover in Louise’s audacious command of and immersion in this rugged, isolated scenery. In her discussion of gender and Fauvism, feminist art historian Gill Perry explores James Herbert’s theory that characterizes the Fauve perception of landscape painting as exclusively masculine; one that is sensual in nature and requiring intense physical contact between the artist and subject, much in a manner that is linked to the male gaze upon the female nude. As summed up by Maurice de Vlaminck, arguably the wildest and most temperamental of the Fauves: “You don’t flirt 20 with nature, you possess it.” Thus, in the context of the Fauve landscape, women simply have no place. Their femininity is equated with coy superficiality that negates the ability to paint anything in a Fauvist manner, landscapes included. True Fauvism belongs to the male domain of total immersion, total possession, total penetration. If we are to accept this theory, we must then credit Louise Herreshoff as one of the few women to lay claim to Fauvism within these chauvinist terms. In “Inland Country,” the artist depicts an expansive vista swimming in rich jewel tones that lap and heave like ocean waves. Summarizing every feature, her fluid strokes weave and intersect in daring loops and curves, seducing both artist and viewer into the sumptuous terrain and beyond to a sunset horizon. Clearly, Herreshoff possessed her autumnal wilderness as convincingly as Vlaminck owned his passionately painted Chatou hillsides. Louise the watercolorist and Louise the Fauve emerge hand-in-hand during the artist’s mature, and possibly most ambitious, period of creativity. The pliant medium of watercolor seems a liberating force that also directs an intensifying of pigments both on paper


Fig. 13 Inland Country, ca. 1924 Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed lower left: L E Exhibition: Exhibition: Providence Water Color Club, 1924; Solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.1.97

and canvas. Primed by her early years of study in Paris, and further encouraged by trends of Modernism, Herreshoff’s ardent nature ultimately yields to the flame of Fauvism. Her illuminating visions leave us with an impression more enduring than fleeting. Such is the brilliance of Seeing Color First and Seeing Color Last. 1

Pierre Schneider, Matisse (New York: Rizzoli, 2002), 214.


Judi Freeman, “Surveying the Terrain: The Fauves and the Landscape,” in The Fauve Landscape by Judi Freeman, James Herbert, John Klein, Alvin Martin, and Roger Benjamin (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990), 7.


Judi Freeman, “Documentary: Chronology, 1904-1908,” in The Fauve Landscape by Judi Freeman, etal., 79.


Letter from Louise Herreshoff to Elizabeth Dyer, Louise Herreshoff Letters, LHtoED.12.5.1898, Folder LH 1898 (3), Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.


“Today dr. [sic] Howe is going to take me to see two pictures by Benjamin Constant ...” Louise Herreshoff Letters, LHtoED.3.9.1898, Folder LH 1898 (1), Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.


Richard Love and Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D. “Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant Biography.” Archives of askART. www.askart.com/artist_bio/Benjamin_Constant/11023787/Benjamin_Constant.aspx (accessed September 15, 2019).



A typical example of the artist’s profuse references to color can be found in a December 18, 1897 letter to Aunt Lizzie in which Louise mentions color eight times in one paragraph. Louise Herreshoff Letters, LHtoED.12.18.1897, Folder LH 1897, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.


Gill Perry, Women Artists and the Parisian Avant-Garde: Modernism and ‘Feminine’ Art, 1900 to the late 1920s (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996), 18.


John Rewald, introduction, Les Fauves (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, Exhibition catalogue, 1952), 5-14.


March 30, 1899, Louise writes home to her Aunt Lizzie that she has gone to an exhibition with friends. The letter is typical in its breezy tone and absence of detail. It is the height of the busy spring salon season and there are many possibilities. The only clue we have is the letter’s date, which corresponds with an exhibition of Neo-Impressionists and The Nabis being held at Galerie Durand – Ruel featuring works by Signac, Sérusier, Bonnard, Denis, Vuillard, Vallatton, Cross, and Redon. Louise Herreshoff Letters, LHtoED.3.30.1899, Folder LH 1899, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.


The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 243. Ancestry.com. UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2008). www. ancestry.com/search/collections/1518/?name=_herreshoff&birth=1905&e-Self – Travel=_liverpool&eSelf-Travel_x=_1-0&f-Self-Arrival-Ship=Teutonic&name_x=_1, 2019 (accessed July 18, 2019).


“1905, 18 October-25 November. The Third Salon d’Automne is held at the Grand Palais, Paris. Among the 1,625 works by 397 artists are included retrospectives of works by Ingres, Manet, and Renoir, who is honorary president of the Salon. Works by Camoin (five) Derain (nine, including views from Collioure), Manguin (five), Marquet (five), Matisse (ten), and Vlaminck (five) are featured in room 7. Puy’s works (four) are in room 3 with those by the older Nabis artists and by Bonnard and Vuillard. Rouault (three) is represented in room 16; Valtat (five) is in room 15 with Alexei Jawlensky (six) and Wassily Kandisky (12). Friesz exhibits four works. Dufy does not exhibit, although many later references erroneously indicate that he did. Emile Loubet, president of the Republic, refuses to open the Salon because some of the paintings are considered radical compared to those at the more conservative Salon of the Société Nationale des Artistes Français. From the press commentary by this Salon emerges the term les fauves. The critic Louis Vauxcelles coins the phrase in his review for Gil Blas, published on 17 October 1905. Critics had been aware of a change in contemporary painting during the preceding year, but they did not identify it as a movement or group of artists until this Salon.” Russell T. Clement, Les Fauves: A Sourcebook (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1994), 13-14.


Marilyn Kushner, Kimberly Orcutt, Casey Blake, The Armory Show at 100: Modernism and Revolution, (New York: New York Historical Society, 2013), 187.


Matthew Affron, “Charmy: The Artist in her Time,” Émilie Charmy, by Matthew Affron, with essays by Sarah Betzer and Rita Felski (Charlottesville: The Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia, Exhibition catalogue, 2013) 22.


Freeman, “Surveying the Terrain” in The Fauve Landscape, 17.


Ibid., 24.


In her discussion of Émilie Charmy’s painting, Woman in a Japanese Dressing Gown, 1906/07, Gill Perry notes that Charmy has included what appears to be a lobster hanging off the edge of the mantelpiece. “And on the right of the canvas the artist has included a strange-looking object which seems out of place in an intimate domestic space – a lobster appears to be suspended just above the mantelpiece. Although there is no surviving documentation which explains the artist’s decision to include the lobster in her composition, its effect is to render the image more puzzling, to undermine any sense of cosy domesticity.” Gill Perry, Women Artists and the Parisian Avant-Garde: Modernism and ‘Feminine’ Art, 1900 to the late 1920s (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996), 58.


Pierre Schneider, Matisse (New York: Rizzoli, 2002), 209.


Freeman, “Surveying the Terrain”, 32.

20 Gill Perry, “Gender and the Fauves: flirting with ‘wild beasts’,” Art of the Avant-Gardes (Art of the 20th Century), edited by Steve Edwards and Paula Wood (London: Yale University Press; Milton Keynes: The Open University, 2004), 75-78.


Catalog of Work Unless otherwise noted, all paintings are gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Euchlin D. Reeves in memory of Mrs. Chester Green Reeves and Miss Lizzie H. Dyer. All catalog dimensions are in inches; height precedes width (H x W). Most dates are based on documented exhibition dates; n.d. indicates “no date.�


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 21.5 Unsigned UR1967.1.109



Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 17 x 21.25 Unsigned Exhibition: Possibly Princeton Farm Lands in solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.1.32

Across the Fields, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Signed lower left: L E UR1967.1.87


Forest, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 11.5 x 8.5 Unsigned UR1967.1.141


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 8.75 x 5.5 Unsigned UR1969.2.25


Blue Spruce, n.d. Watercolor and ink on paper, 9 x 6 Unsigned UR1967.2.22


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 Signed lower left: L E Exhibition: Possibly A Ridge of the Catskills in Providence Water Color Club, 1924 UR1967.2.42


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Unsigned UR1967.2.39

June, ca. 1923 Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Signed lower left: Louise Eaton Exhibition: Providence Water Color Club, 1923 UR1967.1.89


January, ca. 1926 Watercolor on paper, 14.5 x 17.5 Signed lower right: L E Exhibition: Providence Water Color Club, 1926 UR1967.1.125

Spring, ca. 1925 Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Signed lower right: L H E Exhibition: Solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.2.21


Inland Water, ca. 1924 Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Unsigned Exhibition: Providence Water Color Club, 1924 UR1967.1.14

Bouquet of Houses, ca. 1925 Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Signed lower left: L E Exhibition: Solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.2.41


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed lower left: L E UR1967.1.96

Wonson Fields, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed lower right: L E UR1967.1.90


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed lower left, L E UR1967.1.122

White House, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14.5 x 17.5 Unsigned UR1967.2.6


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 Unsigned UR1967.1.138


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed twice lower left: L E Note: “Montauck� is written in pencil on cardboard backing by JWW Exhibition: Possibly Gloucester Rocks in solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.1.95

Rocks No.1, ca. 1925 Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed lower right: L E Exhibition: Possibly Rocks and Island in solo exhibition, Providence Water Color Club, 1925 UR1967.2.30


Rocks #2, ca. 1925 Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed lower left: L E Exhibition: Possibly Rocks in solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.1.99

Ocean at Pigeon Cove, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Signed lower left: Louise Eaton UR1967.1.98


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Unsigned UR1967.2.11

The Dock at Low Tide, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Unsigned UR1967.1.104


Old Dock, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 Signed lower left: L E UR1967.1.88

Gloucester House, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 Signed lower left: Louise Eaton UR1967.2.13


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 Unsigned UR1969.2.21

Gloucester Fish Houses, ca. 1923 Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 Signed lower right: Louise Eaton Exhibitions: Providence Water Color Club, 1923; Solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.1.121


East Gloucester, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 Signed lower left: Louise Eaton UR1967.1.132


Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Unsigned UR1967.1.120

Rockport House, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Signed lower left: Louise Eaton UR1967.2.15


Backyard Gloucester, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Unsigned UR1967.2.16

After Rain, ca. 1923 Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 Signed lower left: Louise Eaton Exhibition: Providence Water Color Club 1923 UR1967.2.14


Houses Cape Ann, ca. 1927 Watercolor on paper, 14.5 x 17.5 Signed lower right: L E Exhibition: Providence Water Color Club 1927 UR1967.1.123

The Old Well – Thompson, ca. 1925 Watercolor on paper, 10 x 14 Signed lower left: L E Exhibition: Solo exhibition, Providence Art Club, 1925 UR1967.2.19


The Industry Envelops the Town, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 11.5 x 12 Signed lower right: L E UR1967.2.25


Snow Sketch, ca. 1923 Watercolor on paper, 9 x 6 Signed lower left: Louise Eaton Exhibition: Providence Water Color Club 1923 UR1967.1.86

A Snow Fall Overnight, n.d. Watercolor on paper, 8.75 x 5.5 Signed lower left: L H Eaton UR1967.2.24


Selected Bibliography Affron, Matthew, Sarah Betzer and Rita Felski. Émilie Charmy. Charlottesville, VA: The Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia, 2013. Bert, Catherine Little and Nancy Whipple Grinnell. Making Her Mark: The Women Artists of the Providence Art Club, 1880. Providence, RI: Providence Art Club, 2017. Exhibition catalog. Bohan, Ruth. Societe Anonyme’s Brooklyn Exhibition: Katherine Dreier and Modernism in America. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1982. Clement, Russell T. Les Fauves: A Sourcebook (Art Reference Collection). Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, Inc., 1994. Curtis, Judith A. Rocky Neck Art Colony 1850-1950. Gloucester, MA: Rocky Neck Art Colony, Inc., 2008. Davies, Kristian. Artists of Cape Ann: A 150 Year Tradition. Rockport, MA: Twin Lights Publishers, 2001. Edwards, Steve and Paul Wood. Art of the Avant-Gardes (Art of the 20 th Century). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004. Ferrier, Jean-Louis. The Fauves: The Reign of Colour. Paris: Pierre Terrail, 1995. Freeman, Judi, James Herbert, John Klein, Alvin Martin, and Roger Benjamin. The Fauve Landscape. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990. Fink, Lois Marie. American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Gerdts, William H. Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting 1710-1920, Vol. 1. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990. Kushner, Marilyn S. and Kimberly Orcutt, eds. The Armory Show at 100: Modernism and Revolution. New York/London: New-York Historical Society / D. Giles Limited, 2013. Les Fauves. Introduction by John Rewald. New York: Museum of Modern Art, NY with Simon & Schuster, 1952. Exhibition catalog. Perry, Gill. Women Artists and the Parisian Avant-Garde: Modernism and ‘Feminine’ Art, 1900 to the Late 1920s. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1996. Schneider, Pierre. Matisse. New York: Rizzoli, 2002. Whitehead, James W. A Fragile Union: The Story of Louise Herreshoff, 2nd ed. Lexington, VA: Celeste Dervaes Whitehead, 2006. Williams, Blanche E. Wheeler. Mary C. Wheeler: Leader in Art & Education, 2nd ed. Providence, RI: The Wheeler School, 2000.


Contributors Tracy Bernabo is curator of Try-me, a private contemporary art space in Richmond, Virginia, owned by Pam and Bill Royall. She is also an ISA-accredited fine art appraiser. For over two decades, she has been the recognized authority on the works of Art Deco designer and metalsmith Oscar B. Bach, and since 2007, she has worked closely with the Royalls to build their significant collection of paintings by French avant-garde artist Émilie Charmy, a pursuit culminating in a 2013-2014 retrospective at the Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia. Bernabo received her BA in art history from Middlebury College, with supplemental study at La Scuola Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence; Middlesex University, London; and Virginia Commonwealth University. Patricia Hobbs is senior curator of art with the Museums at Washington and Lee University. She holds an M.A. in art history from the University of Virginia, has taught as an adjunct instructor in art at Mary Baldwin College, and has served as an instructor in museum studies for the W&L Art and Art History Department since 2006. During her 40-year career, she has curated over 50 exhibitions in history and art museums, in addition to work as a volunteer curator for several nonprofit galleries. She is one of the founding board members of the Beverley Street Studio School in Staunton, and is an award-winning practicing artist. She currently serves as the Virginia State Representative for the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries and previously served on the Council of the Virginia Association of Museums, including as president.


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Louise Herreshoff Eaton: To See Color First  

Staniar Gallery is pleased to host the exhibition To See Color First which presents the first comprehensive study of the watercolors of Loui...

Louise Herreshoff Eaton: To See Color First  

Staniar Gallery is pleased to host the exhibition To See Color First which presents the first comprehensive study of the watercolors of Loui...

Profile for wlumag

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