F. Edwin Church

Artist Biography

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Church was known for his portraits, still lifes, and impressionist landscapes. He studied at the Art Students League in New York under Kenyon Cox (1856–1919), John Henry Twachtman (1853–1902), and Frank Vincent DuMond (1865–1951), among others. In 1905, he began studying at the Académie Julian in Paris under Jean-Paul Laurens (1838–1921); the following year a portrait of his wife, Alice, was accepted at the Paris Salon. Over the years, his work was exhibited at the National Arts Club, Salmagundi Club, National Academy of Design, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He was among the first members of the Allied Artists of America, formed in 1914. A successful 1916 portrait called The Peacock Girl, which tragically was later destroyed, was shown at the National Academy of Design, Detroit Institute of Arts, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio State University, Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Lyme Art Association. While studying in Paris, Church developed an interest in Japanese prints, of which he developed a collection over the succeeding decades. The designs of these prints inspired the backgrounds of some of his portraits. In the 1920s, he participated in a zoological expedition to Haiti, prompting undersea compositions. In the 1930s, he traveled to the Caribbean and South America and painted subjects from the natural world. After the death of his brothers in the 1950s, Church established a bird sanctuary on their properties in Locust Valley, New York. His work spanned the era of gilded age portraits influenced by Japanese art and impressionist landscapes.

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