Daniel Garber

Artist Biography

Renowned Pennsylvania Impressionist and founding member of the New Hope Art Colony

By Eve Perry

Garber was one of the most influential and successful of the Bucks County painters with his poetic depictions of sites around the Delaware River Valley and his intimate domestic scenes depicting his wife and children.

I. Biography
II. Chronology
III. Collections
IV. Exhibitions
V. Memberships
VI. Notes
VII. Suggested Resources

I. Biography

Daniel Garber was born in 1880 to a Mennonite family in North Manchester, Indiana. He began his formal studies at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1897. In 1899 he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and was taught by William Merritt Chase, a leading figure in the American Impressionist movement. Under the tutelage of Hugh Breckenridge and Thomas Anshutz, the young Garber experimented with his approach to painting outdoor scenes during the two summers he studied at the Darby Art School in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. Like many American artists working around the turn of the twentieth century, Garber traveled to Europe to complete his studies and was directly exposed to French Impressionism. After studying for two years in Europe, he returned to the United States in 1907 and settled with his wife Mary in Pennsylvania.

Garber set up a studio in the town of Lumberville, north of New Hope in Bucks County, a region that attracted many artists working in the American Impressionist landscape tradition. Garber joined the New Hope art colony and along with Edward Redfield, the first of the New Hope artists, established one of the top schools of academic Impressionism in the country. Garber rose to prominence as one of the most talented artists among them, earning critical praise for his paintings, mainly painted en plein air, of quarries, rivers, forests and fields around the Delaware River Valley. He was the most technically advanced of the Bucks County painters and certainly the most diverse in his subject matter. In addition to his outdoor scenes, Garber showed a remarkable ability in rendering figures, mainly his wife and children at their home in Lumberville. He also mastered a variety of media. In addition to his paintings, Garber made many drawings that are cohesive works in their own right and created a solid body of etchings.

Garber retained much of the style of the more traditional Impressionists such as J. Alden Weir, one of his chief influences; however, his paintings reflect a highly personal style. The treatment of his subjects varies from straightforward representation to a more imaginative handling of light and color. This effect has been described as decorative, a preference Garber shared with some of his contemporaries. Nevertheless, his overall body of work is characterized by a calmly poetic aura. The critic Homer St. Gaudens, whose views were generally reflective of broader public taste at the time, stated that “Garber does not paint a sugary picture, but a picture that is fortunate to contemplate.” It could be said that his paintings parallel the peaceful and meditative mood that pervaded the many years he spent living and working in the New Hope region.

Garber was a revered teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a position he held from 1909-1950. He also took on the role of an instructor among the New Hope colony members. In both capacities he was committed to maintaining the highest standards of European and American Impressionism. Through his direct instruction, and the influence of his paintings themselves, Garber helped to form the distinctly American Pennsylvania Impressionist style.

II. Chronology

1880 Born in North Manchester, Indiana
1897 Attended Art Academy of Cincinnati (through 1898)
1899 Enrolled at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Attended Darby Summer
School, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
1900 Awarded Fellowship Prize for “most gifted” summer school student
1904 Married Mary Franklin
1905 Awarded Academy’s Cresson Fellowship; Studied for two years in Europe
1907 Settled in Lumberville, Pennsylvania; Taught at the Philadelphia School of Design
for Women
1909 Won the Hallgarten First Prize at the Academy of Design exhibition; Began
teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, retired in 1950
1910 Began frequent exhibitions at Macbeth Gallery in New York
1911 Awarded Potter Palmer Gold Medal and prize of $1000
1913 Elected member of National Academy of Design
1915 Won gold medal at Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco
1916 Exhibited with New Hope Group at Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C,
the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, and the
Cincinnati Art Museum
1919 Awarded Temple Gold Medal at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1921 Awarded William A. Clark Prize of $2000 and Corcoran gold medal
1924 Received bronze medal from Carnegie Institute
1929 The Phillips Mill Community Association was founded to organize exhibitions of
Bucks County artists
1947 Elected member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, New York.
1958 Died on July 5

III. Collections

Allentown Art Museum, PA
Arkell Hall Foundation, NY
Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Butler Institute of American Art, OH
College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Mutter Museum, PA
Columbus Museum, GA
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Cincinnati Art Museum, OH
Detroit Institute of Arts, MI
Elizabethtown College, PA
Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County, NY
Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, CA
Greenville County Museum of Art, SC
Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN
Indiana University, Indiana University Art Museum, IN
James A. Michener Art Museum, PA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Michigan State University, Kresge Art Museum, MI
Mount Holyoke College, MA
Muskegon Museum of Art, MA
National Academy of Design, NY
New Jersey State Museum, NJ
Noyes Museum, NJ
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, PA
Pennsylvania State University, Palmer Museum of Art, PA
Princeton University, Art Museum, NJ
San Diego Museum of Art, CA
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
St. Louis Art Museum, MO
Swarthmore College, PA
Terra Foundation for the Arts, IL
University of Iowa, University of Iowa Museum of Art, IA
University of Nebraska, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, NE
University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, PA
Vassar College, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, NY
Woodmere Art Museum, PA

IV. Exhibitions

1899 Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio
1905 Rosenberg Galleries, Philadelphia
1909 National Academy of Design
1915 National Academy of Design
1918 Philadelphia Art Alliance
1919 Folsom Galleries, New York
1920 Corcoran Gallery of Art
1921 Arlington Galleries, New York
1923 Macbeth Gallery, New York
1924 Philadelphia Art Alliance
1925 Macbeth Gallery, New York
1930 Corcoran Gallery of Art
1931 Macbeth Gallery, New York; Heinz Art Salon, Atlantic City
1932 Stendahl Art Galleries, Los Angeles
1933 Everhart Museum
1934 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1935 Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts; Ohio Wesleyan University
1936 Mount Holyoke Friends of Art, Dwight Art Memorial
1938 Tricker Galleries, New York
1940 Corcoran Gallery of Art; New Hope Art Associates
1941 The Print Club of Philadelphia
1942 Corcoran Gallery of Art; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1945 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1946 Corcoran Gallery of Art
1948 Corcoran Gallery of Art
1949 Philadelphia Art Alliance
1953 Playhouse Galleries, New Hope
1957 Bailey Banks & Biddle, Philadelphia
1962 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1965 Newman Galleries, Philadelphia
1980 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1994 Corcoran Gallery of Art
1998 Woodmere Art Museum
2007 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

V. Memberships

National Academy of Design
American Institute of Arts and Letters

VI. Notes

William H Gerdts, The Golden Age of American Impressionism (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2003), p. 98.
Donelson F. Hoopes, The American Impressionists (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1972), p. 144.
Brian H. Peterson and William H. Gerdts, Pennsylvania Impressionism (Doylestown, Pennsylvania: James A. Michener Art Museum, and University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2002), p. 12.

VI. Suggested Resources

Boyle, Richard J. American Impressionism. New York: Graphic Society, 1974.
Bryant, Lorinda Munson. American Pictures and Their Painters. New York: John Lane
Company, 1917.
Bush, George S., ed. The Genius Belt: The Story of the Arts in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Doylestown, Pennsylvania: James A. Michener Art Museum in association with Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pennsylvania, 1996.
Danly, Susan. Light, Air, and Color: American Impressionist Paintings from the Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1990.
Dearinger, David B, ed. Rave Reviews: American Art and Its Critics, 1826-1925. New York: National Academy of Design, 2000.
Folk, Thomas C. The Pennsylvania Impressionists. Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997.
______.The Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painting. 2 vols. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1987.
Gerdts, William H. American Impressionism. 2nd ed. New York: Abbeville Press, 2001.
______. Art Across America: The East and the Middle-Atlantic; Regional
Paintings in America, 1710-1920
. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990.
______. Masterworks of American Impressionism. Einsiedeln, Switzerland: Karl-
Ulrich Majer, Eidolon AG. in association with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation,
______. The Golden Age of American Impressionism. New York: Watson-Guptill
Publications, 2003.
Hoopes, Donelson F. The American Impressionists. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications,
Humphries, Lance. Daniel Garber: Catalogue Raisonné, volume 1 and 2. New York: Hollis Taggart Galleries. Volume I also available separately as Daniel Garber: His Life and Work. New York: Hollis Taggart Galleries, 2006.
Peterson, Brian H. and William H. Gerdts. Pennsylvania Impressionism. Doylestown, Pennsylvania: James A. Michener Art Museum and University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2002.
Prelinger, Elizabeth. American Impressionism: Treasures from the Smithsonian American
Art Museum. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2000.
White, Theophilus B. The Philadelphia Art Alliance: Fifty Years 1915-1965. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965.

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