Elizabeth Reynolds Finley

Artist Biography

Elizabeth R. Finley was an early twentieth-century American portrait and watercolor artist. Her involvement with the New York Women’s Art Club at the turn of the century was an integral part of the growing movement aimed towards accepting women artists in public exhibitions.

By Chelsea DeLay

I. Biography
II. Exhibitions
III. Memberships
IV. Notes
V. Suggested Resources

I. Biography

Although she experienced a successful career as an artist, limited information remains about Elizabeth R. Finley, who was an active painter in New York City during the early years of the twentieth century.[1] She was a student at the Académie Julian, where she studied with William Adolphe Bouguereau and Gabriel Ferrier. Finley also attended the Art Students League of New York, one of the leading art schools at the time.[2]

Her traditional education and training in the arts resulted in a formal, refined style, evidenced in her portraits and watercolors. Just before the turn of the century, the art world was experiencing a new acceptance of women artists that coincided with the establishment of several co-ed art institutions and societies. In New York, Finley became a member of the New York Women’s Art Club in 1889, which later evolved into the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors.[3] During its initial years of establishment, the founding members of the New York Women’s Art Club kept one goal in mind: to provide women artists with the opportunity to exhibit their work.

After her marriage to Edward Thomas, Elizabeth continued to exhibit at the National Academy of Design from 1901 to 1911, under both her maiden and married names.

II. Exhibitions

1895 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1899, 1901–1911 National Academy of Design

III. Memberships

1889–1913 New York Women’s Art Club
1914 National Association of Women Artists

VI. Notes

Peter H. Falk, Who’s Who in American Art (American Federation of Arts: Washington, D.C., 1937), 3280.
Julie Graham,. “American Women Artists' Groups: 1867-1930,” in Woman’s Art Journal vol. 1 (Spring-Summer, 1980): 8.
Graham, 10.

V. Suggested Resources

Falk, Peter H. Who’s Who in American Art. American Federation of Arts: Washington, D.C.,

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