Lilla Cabot Perry USA
1-13-1848 Boston, USA – 2-28-1933 Hancock, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
In 1884 Lilla Cabot Perry began her formal artistic training with the portrait painter Alfred Quinton Collins. Collins had studied at the Académie Julian in Paris under the guidance of Léon Bonnat. In 1885, Perry's father died and left her an inheritance that allowed her to more seriously study art. In January 1886, she began to study with Robert Vonnoh, an artist who worked in the Impressionist’s en plein air style at Grez-Sur-Loing in France.
Lilla Cabot Perry was commissioned by the Waltham Watch Company to paint his three daughters. She earned sufficient money to travel first-class passage to Europe in June 1887. She also traveled to Spain to copy works at the Museo del Prado. Lilla Cabot Perry’s The Red Hat from 1888 strongly reflects the formal training she had received and her exposure to the old masters, especially the work of Sandro Botticelli.
Lilla Cabot Perry’s success in 1889 made it possible for her to be one of the select few admitted to Alfred Stevens' class in Paris. While in Paris, she became friends with Mary Cassatt, Camille Pissarro, and Claude Monet.
In 1889, Perry first encountered Claude Monet's work in Georges Petit's gallery. Inspired by his work, the Perrys spent the next summer in Giverny, where Monet lived, in order to further expose Lilla to the Impressionist's style. Between 1889 and 1909 Perry spent nine summers in Giverny. It was here that she fully found herself as an artist.
In 1894 Lilla Cabot Perry had achieved another success when her Impressionist paintings were exhibited in Boston at the St. Botolph Club with other artists. Not only did this exhibition reveal that Perry’s work was being accepted in America, it also proved that Impressionism was finally starting to be accepted as an art form outside of Europe.
A new inspiration entered her life in 1897 when her husband received a teaching position in Japan as an English professor at the Keiogijku University. For three years Lilla Cabot Perry resided in Japan and took full advantage of its unique artistic community. Mount Fuji became the subject of 35 or more paintings and she made a total of more than 80 paintings while in Japan.
In 1908 Perry moved to Boston permanently, but focused on portraits because they were more marketable than her landscapes. She regained her health and had six of her paintings exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Indépendents, including Dans un Bateau and Le Paravent Jaune in 1908. In November 1909 Perry returned to America with a newfound inspiration for her work.
In 1922 she became critically ill with diphtheria while her daughter Edith had a complete mental health collapse and was sent to a private mental health institution in Wellesley. Perry spent the next two years in convalescence in Charleston, South Carolina. During this time Lilla Cabot Perry found new inspiration for her landscape theme and executed works such as Road from Charleston to Savannah and A Field, Late Afternoon, Charleston, South Carolina.
Her vocal advocacy for the Impressionist movement helped to make it possible for other American Impressionists like Mary Cassatt to gain the exposure and acceptance they needed in the states. She furthered the American careers of her close friends Claude Monet and John Breck by lecturing stateside on their talents and showcasing their works. She also worked closely with Camille Pissarro to assist him in his dire financial situation by selling his work to friends and family in America.
Art Movement: Impressionism Art
Influences: Robert Vonnoh, Fritz von Uhde, Tony Robert-Fleury, Claude Monet
Traveled: France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan
Influenced: Mary Cassatt