Edmund Charles Tarbell (April 26, 1862– August 1, 1938) was an American Impressionist painter. He was a member of the Ten American painters. His work is held by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery and the National Academy of Design, among others.
Edmund Charles Tarbell, called 'Ned' as a boy, was born at West Groton, Massachusetts, the second of two children. His father, Edmund Whitney Tarbell, died in 186after contracting typhoid fever while serving in the Civil War. His widowed mother, Mary Sophia (Fernald) Tarbell, married David Frank Hartford and moved with him to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She left young 'Ned' and his sister, Nellie Sophia, to be raised by their paternal grandparents in Groton. Their father's earliest Tarbell ancestor had immigrated from England in 1647.
As a youth, Tarbell took evening art lessons from George H. Bartlett at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. Between 187and 1880, he apprenticed at the Forbes Lithographic Company in Boston. In 1879, he entered the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, studying under Otto Grundmann. He matriculated in the same class with two other future members of the Ten American painters, Robert Reid and Frank Weston Benson .
Tarbell was encouraged to continue his education in Paris, France, then center of the art world. Consequently, in 188he entered the Académie Julian to study under Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. Paris exposed him to academic training, which invariably included copying Old Master paintings at the Louvre Museum, but also to the Impressionist movement then sweeping the city's galleries. That duality would influence his work. In 1884, Tarbell's education included a Grand Tour to Italy, and the following year to Italy, Belgium, Germany and Brittany.In the Orchard, 1891, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.
Tarbell returned to Boston in 1886, where he earned a living as an illustrator, private art instructor and portrait painter. Marriage and
Two years after returning to Boston, at age 26, Tarbell married Emeline Souther, daughter of a prominent Dorchester, Massachusetts family. Tarbell frequently painted his wife and their four children (Josephine, Mercie, Mary and Edmund A.), and also used them as models. The paintings portray their lives.
While teaching at the Museum School in Boston, Tarbell and his family lived most of the time at 2Alban Street in Dorchester, in a house that belonged to his stepfather. Later they spent time at the former Hotel Somerset in Boston, near his atelier in the Fenway Studios on Ipswich Street. In 1905, they bought a summer house in New Castle, New Hampshire, an island on the Atlantic coast, to which he and his wife eventually retired. Career
In 1889, Tarbell assumed the position of his former mentor, Otto Grundmann, at the Museum School, where he was a popular teacher. He gave his pupils a solid academic art training: before they learned to paint, they had to render from plaster casts of classical statues. His students included Margaret Fitzhugh Browne, among others. So pervasive was his influence on Boston painting that his followers were dubbed 'The Tarbellites.'
In 191he co-founded The Guild of Boston Artists, and served as its first president through 1924. In 1919, Tarbell was selected as principal of the art school at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He led the Corcoran School of Art until 1926. Works
His 189painting entitled In the Orchard established his reputation as an artist. Many still consider the work his masterpiece. It depicts his wife with her siblings at plein air leisure. Tarbell became famous for impressionistic, richly hued images of figures in landscapes. His later work shows the influence of Johannes Vermeer, a 17th-century Dutch painter. In such works, Tarbell typically portrays figures in genteel Colonial Revival interiors; the studies of light and quiet are executed with restrained brushwork and color.Preparing for the Matinee, 1907
Tarbell painted portraits of many notable individuals, including industrialist Henry Clay Frick, Yale University President Timothy Dwight, and U.S. presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.