Lila Cabot Perry


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Robert Vonnoh (1858—1933)

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Painter. Also a poet. An early exponent of impressionism in Boston, she painted landscapes, genre scenes, and portraits. Through personal friendship with Monet, she helped to popularize his work in the United States. Born in Boston into the prominent Cabot family, in 1874 she married Thomas Sargeant Perry, a professor and literary historian. As their Boston home became a gathering place for the intellectual and social elite, she studied painting at the Cowles School of Art with Robert Vonnoh and Dennis Miller Bunker. In 1887 she went to Paris to work at the Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi. Two years later she met Monet during a summer in Giverny, where she spent about ten seasons over two decades, several as his next-door neighbor. There she also befriended Camille Pisarro, as well as other progressive French and American artists. From 1898 until 1901 she painted many Japanese subjects while residing in Tokyo, where her husband had accepted a teaching position. Between 1886 and 1923 she published four volumes of poetry. From 1903 she often recorded landscape views from the surroundings of a vacation home near Mount Monadnock in Hancock, New Hampshire, where she died. Perry's debt to Monet is particularly evident in landscapes, which closely adapt her mentor's brilliant colors, vigorous brushwork, and insubstantial form. Lady with a Bowl of Violets (National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., c. 1910) demonstrates a characteristically more structured approach to form in figure paintings, although the richly hued, broken brushwork and sensitive response to effects of light confirm the attraction of impressionist practice.

Subjects: Art.

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