Edmund Charles Tarbell (1862-1938)
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Edmund Charles Tarbell was an American Impressionist painter born in West Groton, Massachusetts. After the death of his father, Tarbell’s mother remarried and moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tarbell and his younger sister were subsequently raised by their grandparents in Groton.
Tarbell was interested in art from an early age and took lessons from George H. Bartlett at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. Tarbell moved to Boston to gain exposure to more artists and apprenticed at the Forbes Lithographic Company. In 1879, Tarbell enrolled at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, taking courses under Otto Grundmann. As a student, Tarbell met Robert Reid and Frank West Benson, who later collaborated to form the Ten American Painters.
In 1883 Tarbell left for Europe to study at the world renowned, Académie Julian in Paris. Tarbell studied under Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. While in Paris, Tarbell copied paintings at the Louvre and became exposed to the popular Impressionist movement. Before returning to Boston, Tarbell travelled extensively in Europe including lengthy visits in Italy.
In 1886 Tarbell started working as an illustrator in and portrait painter in Boston. A few years later Tarbell was offered a position teaching at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Tarbell quickly became known for his strengths as a teacher. Many students attended the school in order to work under Tarbell’s guidance. A group of particularly loyal students were known as the “Tarbellites”.
Tarbell exhibited frequently in Boston and was popular among the circle of prominent artists in his day. Tarbell made important contributions to the city, such as helping to found the Guild of Boston Artists.
Tarbell frequently painted his wife and children in a plein-air impressionist style. In addition to family portraits, Tarbell was honored to paint three United States Presidents including Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. Tarbell eventually retired in New Castle, New Hampshire.
One of Tarbell’s paintings now hangs in the White House, as well as numerous other museums and private homes across the United States. Tarbell was an important influence in the popularization of Impressionism in American art. Do you think you own a painting by Edmund Charles Tarbell? Contact us. We are the Edmund Charles Tarbell experts.