Paul Sample


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Painter. While many of his earlier paintings include genre elements, he became increasingly devoted to landscape, drawing on long familiarity with the hilly topography of New Hampshire and neighboring Vermont for many of his best-known, somewhat idealized scenes. His mature style features formal simplification and careful attention to compositional structure. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, during childhood Paul Starrett Sample moved frequently with his family. Before his graduation in 1921, he interrupted his education at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, to serve during World War I in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Subsequently, he studied painting privately with Jonas Lie. In 1925 he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for a year at the Otis Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design) before accepting a teaching position at the University of Southern California. In 1938 he returned to Dartmouth as artist-in-residence. During World War II, he served as an artist-correspondent for Life magazine, and afterward he was able to draw on his Depression-era experience as a federal art project muralist when he received a number of private decorative commissions. Throughout these years he resided in Norwich, Vermont, where he remained after retirement from nearby Dartmouth in 1962. He died in a Hanover hospital. Among his finest evocations of the wintry season in that region, Lamentations V:18 (The Fox Hunt) (Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, 1938) offers a crisp depiction of hunters and dogs on a snowy hillside, almost certainly inspired by Pieter Brueghel the Elder's renowned Hunters in the Snow (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 1565). Depicting figures in a rolling farm landscape, Janitor's Holiday (Metropolitan Museum, 1936) more clearly shares interests with regionalists among American Scene painters. Although such paintings suggest nostalgic fondness for rural life, Sample's dignified work generally avoids the overt moralizing and false cheerfulness associated with much regionalism. He also painted industrial landscapes, factory workers, marine views, and portraits.

Subjects: Art.

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