Edmund Charles Tarbell USA

4-26-1862 West Groton, USA - 8-1-1938 New Castle, USA

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Tarbell, Edmund Charles

As a youth, Edmund Charles Tarbell took evening art lessons from George H. Bartlett at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. Between 1877 and 1880, he apprenticed at the Forbes Lithographic Company in Boston. In 1879, he entered the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, studying under Otto Grundmann. He matriculated in the same class with Robert Reid and Frank Weston Benson, two other future members of the Ten American Painters.

Edmund Charles Tarbell was encouraged to continue his education in Paris, France, then center of the art world. Consequently, in 1883 he entered the Académie Julian to study under Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. Paris exposed him to rigorous academic training, which invariably included copying Old Master paintings at the Louvre Museum, but also to the Impressionist movement then sweeping the city's galleries. That duality would inform his work. In 1884, Tarbell's education included a Grand Tour to Italy, and the following year to Italy, Belgium, Germany and Brittany.

Edmund Charles Tarbell returned to Boston in 1886, where he began his career as an illustrator, private art instructor and portrait painter.

In 1889, Edmund Charles Tarbell assumed the position of his former mentor, Otto Grundmann, at the Museum School, where he was a popular teacher. He gave pupils a solid academic art training: before they learned to paint, they had to render from plaster casts of classical statues. His students included Margaret Fitzhugh Browne, F. Luis Mora, and Lilian Westcott Hale. So pervasive was his influence on Boston painting that his followers were dubbed "The Tarbellites."

But in 1912, the Museum of Fine Arts hired Huger Elliott from the Rhode Island School of Design as Supervisor of Educational Work, charged with reorganizing the Museum School, which until then managed its own affairs. An upheaval ensued. He lectured Tarbell how to teach, then how to paint. Tarbell was incensed, making it no secret that he considered Elliott artistically inept. In December, Tarbell resigned together with Frank W. Benson, his friend and fellow instructor. The men in 1913 discussed founding a society to encourage art and artists in the city. With financial backing from Lilla Cabot Perry, The Guild of Boston Artists opened in 1914. Tarbell was its first president, serving through 1924.

In 1918, Edmund Charles Tarbell was hired as principal of the art school at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, a position he held until 1926. But the Museum of Fine Arts wanted him back at the Museum School, appointing him in 1925 as Chairman of the Advisory Council.

Art Movement: Impressionism Art
Influences: Otto Grundmann, Gustave Boulanger, Jules Joseph Lefebvre
Traveled: France, Italy, Belgium, Germany
Influenced: Margaret Fitzhugh Browne, F. Luis Mora, Lilian Westcott Hale
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