Sunday, April 5, 2009

Edwin Austin Abbey

I've been a bit out of reach from the Internet, so let me just offer a picture by one of my favorite overlooked masters, Edwin Austin Abbey. Abbey was an American expatriate artist famous for his pen and ink illlustrations, his murals at the Boston Public Library and the Harrisburg, PA capitol, and also for his unsurpassed illustrations from the plays of Shakespeare.

He was good friends with Lawrence Alma Tadema and John Singer Sargent, who taught him to paint after age 40. It helps to have teachers like that! The painting is called "Fair is My Love," from 1900.
Lines and Colors post about Abbey, Link.
Bio on Butler Art, link.
Ciudad de la Pintura, Link.


Unknown said...

That means it's never too late for any of us! Very inspirational, and beautiful art.

Saskia said...

I love his work! Sadly it seems there's not a lot of him in print, I've found only one promising book so far.

I wouldn't be too sure about that, he already was an accomplished artist long before that. (Full time position drawing at age 14, as I take from one of the linked articles ;) )

Kendra Melton said...

Edwin Austin Abbey is definitely one of my favorite artists of all time. It is very sad there isn't more of his work in print today.

If you ever get a chance a brilliant book about Abbey is:
Edwin Austin Abbey Royal Academician : The Record of His Life and Work
2 Volume set
by Lucas, E. V.
It's almost entirely inks with a few black and white paintings.

Because he is so grand, figured I would share some more links :D

Art Renewal Center:
A Couple different images

Tate Collection:
some of his inks

The Royal Collection:
King Edwards Coronation with zoom

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
2 Paintings with Zoom

Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco:
Inks you can Zoom in on

The Athenaeum:
Decent Size Images

Unknown said...

Very beautiful. You can definitely see the influence of Talma Adema in his painting. What great inspiration too - it's never too late!

kev ferrara said...

What great images Abbey makes! Abbey really is due for belated election into the pantheon of greats. But the list of great 20th century artists who have been excluded from public recognition for reasons of modernist ideology is fairly extensive. We've only just gotten Rockwell into the Guggenheim. Fechin's works have only been fetching their just values of recent. In due course, if we all do our small part, the great artists of the late 19th and 20th centuries will one by one come down from the attic and up from the basement to sit and dine at the same table as the old masters.

Oscar Baechler said...

Alma-Tadema probably only trained Austin Abbey because his "A" name put him in the front of catalogues :P Which is, in fact, why Alma-Tadema hyphenated "Alma" on.

Anonymous said...

I adore EA Abbey, ever since I first encountered him in my History of Illustration class at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

I've been able to at least see the outside of the house that he rented in Broadway, the Cotswalds, England, which is also where Sargent painted Carnation Lily, Lily Rose.

Have searched for the London parish church where he was buried, but it appears to have been destroyed during WWII.

The Boston Library murals blew me away, as did the Lear painting at the Met in New York.

There is also an interesting book called The Tile Club, which Abbey was a member of for awhile.

I do have two copies of the EV Lucas 2 vol biography and would consider parting with one, perhaps, to someone who would give a good home and appreciate it.

Timothy Tyler Artist said...

JS Sargent was instrumental in getting Abbey the murals job in Boston. Sargent aslo tried to get Whistler one also and Whistler even met with McKim and Mead in London but never got the job. Monet, Whistler and others artist were very unkind to Sargent yet he continued to support them and give them work and to buy their paintings.

James Gurney said...

Timothy, I just read a story that Sargent once had Monet over to his studio. Sargent's best paintings were festooning the studio walls, but Monet never looked at a single one. Another friend asked Sargent if he felt offended or slighted. But he wasn't, not at all. Sargent allowed that his own work just wasn't Monet's cup of tea. Sargent was legendary for supporting his fellow painters, even those who were antagonistic to him.

Leslie Drew said...

RE: Edward Austin Abbey
I have a one-of-a-kind, privately published book by EAA & Alfred Parsons dedicated to the wife of artist, Arthur P. Spears. It's currently listed on Ebay, AbeBooks & Alibris